Work/home conflict and facilitation:COR(e) relations.: A longitudinal study on work-home interaction in different occupational groups in Norway.
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Changes in family structure, work context, and the composition of the work force mean a host of new challenges for both men and women as they struggle to cope with the often competing pressures of work demands and personal responsibilities. However, multiple roles might also provide arenas for joy and personal growth. In contemporary societies, work and home constitute two of the most important domains in life. Knowledge of how these domains interact has profound implications for individuals, organizations, and the society. This thesis studies both the direction of this interaction (work-to-home vs. home-to-work) and type of effect (conflict vs. facilitation). Building upon Hobfoll’s (1989) Conservation of Resources (COR) theory, it examines how individual,- (gender and job performance-based self-esteem), family,- (family structure), and organizational,- (workload and autonomy) factors, and health (burnout) relate to work-home interaction (WHI). Using a sample of employees from eight occupational groups in Norway, the thesis aims to explore the nature of WHI, who is affected, and what its consequences may be. The findings support the four-factorial structure of WHI. Overall, being female, emotionally exhausted, having a strong sense of job performance-based self-esteem, experiencing excessive workload, and being a parent are characteristics associated with more conflict. Conversely, being female, perceiving high autonomy at work, and being part of a childless couple are characteristics associated with more facilitation. The longitudinal analysis indicates that some of these associations are reciprocally related. Thus, WHI can act as both precursor and outcome simultaneously. A particularly noticeable finding was the buffering effect of work-to-home facilitation on burnout. Similarly, although a problem in itself, disengagement seems to prevent work-to-home conflict. Methodological and theoretical implications of the findings are discussed. It is argued that as long as work and family/home are the two most important life domains in contemporary societies, a more profound understanding of the factors that affect health and well-being needs to be found in the relationship between work and home.