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Vouching for childcare assistance with two quasi-experimental studies

Nicole L. Gullekson (Department of Management, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA)
Rodger Griffeth (Department of Psychology, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA)
Jeffrey B. Vancouver (Department of Psychology, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA)
Christine T. Kovner (College of Nursing, New York University, New York, New York, USA)
Debra Cohen (Society for Human Resource Management, Alexandria, Virginia, USA)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 4 November 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

Human resource management (HRM) practices are implemented to improve outcomes, such as reducing turnover, absenteeism, and improving performance. Using social exchange theory (SET), the purpose of this paper is to examine one HRM practice that has received less attention by researchers: employer-sponsored childcare assistance programs.

Design/methodology/approach

Study 1 – a field study compared three groups of hospital employees’ (n=148) attitudes and behaviors using MANCOVA/ANOVA over two time periods. Study 2 – using a field study, on-site and voucher childcare assistance programs were evaluated in terms of the cost to the organization and the relationship to attitudinal variables.

Findings

Study 1 – results indicated that employee performance was higher and absenteeism lower for employees using the on-site childcare center than employees using an off-site center or with no children. Although the attitudinal results did not align with hypotheses, they were not inconsistent with SET. Study 2 – results indicate that childcare assistance programs may be a beneficial HRM practice for organizations to implement.

Research limitations/implications

One limitation of Study 1 is the small sample size. Future research should continue to examine how employee benefits like childcare programs affect employees, as well as examine how such benefits differentially employees who value and do not value the benefits. In Study 2, although the authors randomly selected the sample of on-site and voucher programs, the health care facilities self-selected themselves to participate in the program and selected the type of childcare program, a potential source of bias. Future research should examine childcare assistance programs and their impact on work-family balance and strain-based conflict in a wider variety of samples.

Practical implications

Implications for research and practice: Both studies offer researchers a “next step” in the evaluation of childcare assistance research. Additionally, these studies are of practical value to administrators/researchers in organizations who may be considering vouchers or on-site programs as they relate such programs to organizational outcomes.

Originality/value

The first study is one of the few studies on this topic to use a field design with two time points and with multiple behaviors and attitudes. The second study provides a descriptive comparison of two types of childcare assistance programs, a comparison made by few studies to date.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Study 2 was funded by a grant from the New York State Department of Health. Also, portions of this paper were presented at the Human Resources Division of the Southern Management Association, New Orleans. The authors are grateful to Cheryl Smith, Charles Scherbaum, and Eugene Romero-Stone for their contributions to earlier drafts of this paper. Additionally the authors thank Michael Yedidia, Karlene Lavalle, Susan Cook, Channing Stave, Carolyn Berry, Colleen Hirschkorn, and Elysa Ferrara and Edward Salsberg for their help and support of this paper.

Citation

L. Gullekson, N., Griffeth, R., B. Vancouver, J., T. Kovner, C. and Cohen, D. (2014), "Vouching for childcare assistance with two quasi-experimental studies", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 29 No. 8, pp. 994-1008. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-06-2012-0182

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited