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ISSN: 2278-3369

International Journal of Advances in Management and Economics

Available online at www.managementjournal.info


Work Life Balance: A Conceptual Review

Shobitha Poulose1*, Sudarsan N2
1School of Management Studies, National Institute Technology Calicut, NITC Campus, Kerala, India.
2Head of School of Management Studies, National Institute Technology Calicut, NITC Campus, Kerala, India.

*Corresponding Author: E-mail: shobitha_p120056ms@nitc.ac.in


Individual perception of high Work life balance (WLB) and sense of well being among employees has become
imperative for any organization in order to ensure enhanced performance efficiency, particularly in this era of
highly competitive business environment. It is no wonder that the work life balance has attracted numerous
contributions from researchers and HR practitioners that attempt to investigate on various factors influencing
WLB, their interrelationship and possible outcomes of different levels of WLB prevailing among employees. This
paper is an attempt to compile the notable research reported on WLB studies undertaken as a prelude to search for
newer and deeper avenues of future research.
Keywords: Work Life Balance, Measurement Scales, Factors of Work Life Balance, Outcomes of Work Life Balance.

Ever since the advent of Liberalisation,
Privatization and Globalization, India has come to Personal Life
be recognized as one of the major emerging
economies of the world, necessitating momentous
paradigm shifts in business processes that compel
organisations to transform the way in which they
function compared to earlier days. Increased Societal Life Organisational
emphasis on competition and radical technological Life
advancements has resulted in organizations to be
more competitive, agile, flexible and customer
focused. Consequently organisations require, Fig.1: Work life balance
empowered employees possessing higher
competencies and multitasking skills in order to inefficient management of life priorities can lead
ensure sustained growth at minimum operational to serious consequences in each or all of these
costs. Employees working in organisations of the domains. The consequences may in general
modern era most often encounter eternal manifest as diminished job satisfaction, poorer
challenge of performing well and are forced to productivity and performance, lower
devote most of their time at work in this enhanced organisational commitment, inferior career
competitive work setting. However, commitment ambitions & success, increased absenteeism &
towards self development, allegiance to family intention to leave, as well as employee burnout,
and social life in order to fulfil the demands and job stress, poorer physiological and psychological
duties along with organisational obligations are health, and diminished performance in personal
imperative for any individual employee. The life & family. Thus, WLB and employee
balancing act of an individual in this three perception of well being have come to be
dimensional aspects of life namely organisational, recognized to be vital for the organisational
societal and employees personal life as depicted growth and effectiveness. Human resource
in the diagram is termed as work life balance management practices in modern organizations
(WLB). emphasize effective strategies that ensure
employee well being reflected in terms of
Understandably, any imbalance between organizational commitment through initiatives
organisational and personal commitments and the referred to as employee engagement. The

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importance of work life balance of the employees a range of studies, but also to identify possible
and the parameters that influence WLB in directions for further research.
modern work and life settings cannot be over
Organization of Literature
emphasized in this era of acutely competitive
business environment and dwindling skilled Organisation of literatures on work life balance
manpower combined with ever increasing costs of has been conceptualised mainly under four parts.
employment. It is no wonder that this area of HR Initially theoretical background of the subject is
management has received great deal of focus from elicited through various definitions and theories
researchers, management, government and the pertaining to the area. The second part presents,
media over the past few decades. This paper various scales for measurement of work life
attempts to bring together salient and notable balance while the third and fourth part is devoted
contributions on WLB and influence of different to discussion on the various factors influencing
parameters influencing WLB in different WLB and their consequences. Studies undertaken
organizational sectors not only towards in this direction internationally and nationally
presenting better conceptual understanding of are presented separately.
work life balance through various, theories
propounded and the measurement scales used in

Work life Balance


Work life Balance Work Life Balance Factors Work Life Balance Outcomes
Measurement Scales

Individual Factors Organisational Societal Work Related Non-Work Related

Factors Factors Outcomes Outcomes

International Indian Studies


Fig.2: Organisation of Literature

role in ones total role system, to approach every
Work Life Balance
typical role and role partner with an attitude of
Theoretical Definitions attentiveness and care. Put differently, it is the
practice of that even handed alertness known
Work-life balance is a broad concept, defined in
sometimes as mindfulness. In simple terms,
different ways by different researchers using
worklife balance is defined as the extent to
diverse dimensions. The origins of research on
which individuals are equally engaged in and
work-life balance can be essentially traced back to
equally satisfied with work and family roles [13].
studies on women having multiple roles. Work life
Kirchmeyer [52] also defined a balanced life as
balance was initially termed as work family
achieving satisfying experiences in all life
conflict, Kahn et al. [46] defined as a form of
domains. He stated that to achieve satisfying
inter role conflict in which the role pressures from
experiences in all life domains requires personal
work and family domains are mutually
resources like energy, time and commitment to be
incompatible in some respect. That is,
well distributed across domains. Subsequently,
participation in the work (family) role being made
Clark [14] modified the definition as satisfaction
more difficult by virtue of participation in the
and good functioning at work and at home with a
family (work) role [30]. Marks and Mac Dermid
minimum of role conflict. Hill, et al. [36] defined,
[62] defined role balance as the tendency to
work-life balance as the extent to which a person
become fully engaged in the performance of every
can concurrently balance the emotional,
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behavioural and time demands of both paid work, While definitions and explanations differ,
personal and family responsibilities. work/life balance can be generally associated with
equilibrium, or maintaining an overall sense of
Traditionally, and most often, researchers have harmony in life [15].
opined that workfamily balance to be the
Theories of Work Life Balance
nonexistence of workfamily conflict, or the rate
of recurrence and intensity with which work Zedeck and Mosier [117] and later ODriscoll [72]
interferes with family or family interferes with identified typically five main models used to
work [31]. Duxbury [18] had defined work life explain the relationship between work and life of
balance as a combination of role overload, work to an individual. The first model is known
family interference and family to work as segmentation model, which hypothesizes that
interference. Role overload refers to having too work and non-work are two distinct domains of
much to do in a specified time leading to feeling of life that are lived quite independently and have
stress, fatigue and time crunch. Work to family no influence on each other. This appears to be
interference occurs when demands and presented as a theoretical prospect rather than a
responsibilities of work rendering fulfilment of model with practical support. In contrast to the
family demands and responsibilities of individuals first model, a spill over model put forward
difficult. Family to work interference occurs when suggested that one domain can influence the other
family demands and responsibilities make it more domain in either a positive or negative
difficult for an individual to fulfil work demands way. While, sufficient research to support this
and responsibilities. According to Voydanoff, [108] model has been reported, need exists for more
work life balance is a global assessment of work comprehensive propositions about the nature,
and family resources to meet the work and family causes and consequences of spillover. The third
demands so that individual could able to model, termed as compensation model proposes
discharge effective participation in both the work and family as to be two spheres of life and
domains. Greenhaus and Allen [29] defined work what may be lacking in one sphere, in terms of
family balance as the degree to which an demands or satisfactions may be derived from the
individuals effectiveness and satisfaction in the other sphere of life. For example, albeit work
roles of work and family domain are well-matched being regular and unchallenging, this could be
with the individuals life priorities. compensated for by a key role in local area
activities outside work. A fourth model referred
Many of the studies recognize that an individuals to as an instrumental model, proposes that
life involves multiple domains and is not activities of one sphere may facilitate success in
restricted to work and home domains alone. the other sphere, classically exemplified by, an
Warren [113] identified over 170 different life instrumental worker may explore ways to
domains based on the previous studies. Notable maximize earnings by undertaking hectic
among them include domains of work, financial overtime work lasting several days against a
resources, leisure, dwelling and neighbourhood, routine job to purchase a home or a car for their
family, friendships, social involvement and family. Another model referred to as
health. These domains of life have been observed conflict model suggests that individuals
to be very closely interrelated, implying ignorance encountering high levels of demand in all spheres
or inappropriate preference to any one life domain of life and compelled to make difficult choices may
may have significant impact on other areas of life end up in experiencing psychological conflicts
resulting in overall imbalance in the life of with significant overload.
individuals. Grzywacz and Carlson [33] define
work/life balance as accomplishment of role- Clark [13] proposed a new theory about work
related expectations that are negotiated and family balance known as work/family border
shared between an individual and his/her role- theory states that, every persons role differs with
related partners in the work and family domains. specific domains of life such as work/family
Swami [101] defined work life balance as a domains, generally separated by physical,
practice that is concerned with providing scope for temporal or psychological borders. The theory
employees to balance their work with the describes individuals to be daily border crossers
responsibilities and interests they have outside as they move between home and workplace
work. Work-life balance is the individual having significant implications on level of
perception that work and non-work activities are integration, easy movements and the degree of
compatible and promote growth in accordance conflict between domains based on the nature of
with an individuals current life priorities [47]. borders such as, flexibility and permeability

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between work and family life boundaries.Morris and gains along with work-parenting strains and
and Madsen [67] proposed a new perspective of gains. While, work-family gains represent positive
balance between work and family roles in terms of gains from work and family roles, work-family
Resource drain theory and Enrichment theory strains relates to the extent to which the
that supplement the existing theories. According individuals experienced contagion or spill over of
to resource drain theory, limited availability of stress between different roles. Work-parenting
resources such as time, energy, money and strains and gains depict the gains and strains of
attention leads to reduction of the resource in its combining work and parenting roles of an
original domain as it is shared with another individual.
domain. The phenomenon can be exemplified by,
when an employee invests larger portions of time The work-life balance construct has been
at work; the time available for family or for other measured in a variety of ways. Clark [14]
non-work roles diminishes. In contrast, proposed that the concept of work-life balance
Enrichment theory refers to the degree to which may be somewhat misleading, suggesting that the
experiences from instrumental sources (skills, synergistic relationship between work and home
abilities, values) or affective sources (mood, that balance implies may be, at most, a rare
satisfaction) augment the worth of the other occurrence. The study used five different scales
domain or in other words, experiences in one to represent work-life balance namely, role
domain complimenting the quality of live in the conflict, work satisfaction, home satisfaction,
other domain. Most of the studies in work life family functioning and employee citizenship.
balance have been underlined by the above According to Fisher [25] work life balance
theories in spite of explanations and contents may comprised of four parts namely, (i) time, i.e., a
vary between individual studies. comparison between amount of time spend at
work and time engaged in other activities, (ii)
Work Life Balance Measurement
individuals behaviour at work and in personal
Developing and validating a measure of work life life, (iii) Strain being a source of inter role conflict
balance is a critical element for mapping of work and (iv) Energy being a limited resource and
environment prevailing in any organization has relevant for employees to accomplish work and/or
been recognized to be essential tool for non work related goals. In addition, a scale to
researchers, management practitioners to measure three dimensions of work life balance
facilitate advanced research in this area. Initially, namely, Work interference with personal life
work life balance was estimated in terms of work (WIPL), Personal life interference with work
family conflict, in line with the model proposed by (PLIW) and Work/Personal life enhancement
Greenhaus and Beutell [30] that include different (WPLE) was also included. Hayman [34] validated
types of conflict such as time based conflict, strain the scale with 15 items for assessing the construct
based conflict and behaviour based conflict. The of work life balance instead of 19 items in the
model hypothesised that any role attribute that original scale.
influences individuals time involvement, strain or
behavior within a role, can generate conflict Tausig and Fenwick [102] measured perceived
between that role and the other roles played by work-life balance using two items: the extent to
the individuals. Time based conflict occurs when which workers feel successful in balancing work
time devoted to one role makes it difficult to fulfil and personal life, and the amount of conflict they
the demands in another role. Strain based conflict face in balancing work and personal life.
exists when psychological strain produced within Greenhaus, Collins, & Shaw [31] identified three
one role have an effect on the functioning of components to measure workfamily balance
individuals another role. The model also namely, time, involvement, and satisfaction. The
indicated that strain based work family conflict study used direct measures of work family
was likely to be the most intense for employees balance to avoid the limitations of individual
exposed particularly to extensive physical, judgments about balance. The first component
emotional, or mental work demands. Behaviour time relates the amount of time spent at work
based conflict occurs when specific behaviours with the amount of time spent on home and
effective in one role are inappropriate with family activities. The second component evaluates
behavioural expectations in another role. the involvement in work compared to involvement
in family, and the third component measures the
Marshall and Barnett [63] proposes a scale satisfaction from work and satisfaction with
comprising four dimensions to measure work- family. Grzywacz and Carlson [33] developed the
family gains and strains among earning couples, four components of balance known as work-to-
which includes a measure of work-family strains family conflict [WFC], family-to-work conflict
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[FWC], work-to-family enrichment [WFE], and active, assertive, energetic, enthusiastic and
family-to-work enrichment [FWE]). Workfamily sociable individuals, (ii) Agreeableness
balance results from high levels of workfamily characterising cooperation, forgivingness,
enrichment and low levels of workfamily conflict. kindness and trust, (iii) Conscientiousness
In Indian context, Pareek & Surabhi [76] pertaining to achievement orientation,
developed a scale to measure work life balance as dependability, orderliness, efficiency,
perceived by employees in terms of personal responsibility and hardworking, (iv)Neuroticism-
needs, social needs, time management, team referring to anxiety, insecurity, tension, and
work, compensation and Work. Social and worry, and (v) Openness to Experience -
personal needs included activities such as characterized by intelligence, imagination,
exercise, investing time for planning financial curiosity, creativity, and originality. In general
matters and enjoying the activities of interest of personality can be defined as the sum total of
the individual. Time management component ways in which an individual reacts to and interact
dealt with individuals ability to utilise and divide with others [85].
time between work and life domains. Work
environment and culture have been used to Parasuraman and Greenhaus [74] suggested that
measure the team work at workplace. personality characteristics could be influenced by
Compensation and benefits dimension have the ability of individuals to interact and react to a
incorporated benefits and privileges offered by the situation and also help to proactively shape the
organisation. The dimension work included the environment. Wayne, Musisca and Fleeson [114]
nature of the work to be performed. Rincy & investigated the relationship between each of the
Panchanatham, [84] had developed a work life Big Five personality traits and conflict &
balance scale comprising four components facilitation between work & family roles. The
namely, Intrusion of work into personal life, study identified significant negative relationships
Intrusion of personal life into work, Work between conscientiousness, extraversion,
enhancement by personal life and Personal life agreeableness, openness to experience, and work-
enhancement by Work. The scale consisted of 42 family & family-work conflict, while a significant
items for measuring the work life balance of positive relationship between neuroticism and
employees working in the service sector. The work-family & family-work conflict. The findings
study demonstrated that intrusion of personal life showed that extraversion is related to greater
into work (IPLW) and intrusion of work into facilitation between work & family roles and do
personal life (IWPL) were negatively related, not relate to conflict, while neuroticism is related
while Work enhancement by personal life (WEPL) to conflict by a greater extent but only weakly
and personal life enhancement by work (PLEW) related to facilitation. Aryee, Srinivas and Tan [4]
were positively related to work life balance. observed that individuals with proactive
personalities may take steps to obtain support
Factors of Work Life Balance
and engage in role reformation or negotiation to
Many studies have been devoted in search of minimize work family conflict and encourage
antecedents influencing perception of work life workfamily facilitation. The study also revealed
balance among individuals. These antecedents that neuroticism is positively correlated to work
can be broadly grouped based on the major family conflict and negatively correlated to work
dimensions of WLB namely, individual, family facilitation. In addition, optimists would
organizational and societal factors. The following have the ability to extract social support and
sections present notable contributions of the implement appropriate coping strategies to cope
researchers in these directions. up with stressful circumstances, demonstrated by
negative relation with work family conflict and
Individual Factors Influencing WLB positive relation with workfamily facilitation.

The studies undertaken in determining the Kaur [48] assessed the relationships between
Individual factors influencing the perception of work life balance, big five personality dimensions
work life balance among employees is explained in and life satisfaction among government college
terms of personality, well-being and emotional teachers of Chandigarh, India. The results
intelligence. revealed that there exists significant positive
Personality and WLB correlation between work life balance, life
satisfaction and Extroversion dimension of
McCrae & John [65] proposed Big Five factor personality owing to the ability to build strong
model of personality traits in terms of five basic networks of social support which help them to
dimensions namely: (i) Extraversion - describing maintain better work life balance. Results showed
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that there is no gender differences reported on all emotion and harness emotions. Affandi and Raza
the variables except one, conscientiousness where [2] investigated the association between leaders
females scored significantly higher than males. emotional intelligence and its impact on quality of
Devadoss & Minnie [16] studied the influence of work life, burnout and employee performance
big five factors of personality on work-life balance among medical doctors working in various
based on experts opinion. The data analyzed hospitals across Pakistan. Results indicated that
using Fuzzy Relational mapping (FRM) model leaders emotional intelligence is positively linked
revealed that the personality type openness with quality of work life and can be considered as
exhibit greater ability to strike a proper balance a strong predictor of quality of work life, and
between work and life domains, owing to positive employee performance while it is not associated
impact of the personality at work and family, with employee burnout.
while, neuroticism is more vulnerable to maintain
a balance between work and life roles. Rangreji [79] found that IT employees in
Bangalore city, India exhibited higher regulation
Well-being and WLB
of emotion in the self, followed by appraisal and
Psychological well-being refers to positive recognition of emotion in others, use of emotion to
psychological traits, such as self-acceptance, facilitate performance & appraisal and expression
satisfaction, hope or optimism [87]. Grpel and of emotion in the self. The influence of emotional
Kuhl [32] observed that need fulfilment plays a intelligence on work life balance dimensions was
mediating role in the relationship between work observed to be weakly related but significant,
life balance and subjective well-being. The study while Appraisal & expression of emotions in self
utilised two components of subjective well-being and use of emotions to facilitate performance
namely, a cognitive component (life satisfaction) displayed larger influence. Among the work life
and an affective component (emotional wellbeing). dimensions the usage of work life balance
Findings reported that females experience higher programs was maximally influenced by emotional
well being compared to males and consequently intelligence.
exhibit higher work life balance in terms of lower
Organizational Factors influencing WLB
work-family & family-work conflict. Wilkinson
[115] examined the relationship between work-life The studies undertaken in determining the work
balance and psychological well-being among a related factors influencing the perception of work
non-random sample of participants chosen from life balance among individuals is explained in
three companies in the South eastern United terms of flexible work arrangements, work life
States and observed that work-life balance and balance policies and programmes, work support,
psychological well-being to be positively job stress, technology and role related factors.
correlated. The study showed that gender to be a
Work Arrangements and WLB
moderator between work-life balance and
psychological well-being. Many studies have suggested that flexible work
arrangements would help the employees to attain
Soin D [97] examined stress, psychological well- a better blend between work and non work
being, and work life balance among full-time activities and help the organisations to recruit,
female managers of public sector banks and part- retain and motivate their employees [6, 49].
time teachers from senior secondary government Christensen and Staines [12] identified that
schools in three cities of India. The measure flexitime work arrangement reduced late comings,
Psychological Well-being Scale constructed using absenteeism, and turnover. The study concluded
six dimensions namely; autonomy, environmental that flexible time strategy improved employee
mastery, purpose in life, self-acceptance, personal productivity by minimising absenteeism, turnover
relations with others and personal growth based and work family conflict. Hill et al [36] conducted
on Ryffs psychological well being scale. The a study on 6,451 employees of IBM in USA and
results revealed that while; full-time working the study empirically suggested the importance of
women reported relatively higher levels of stress flexible work timings and location of work place to
with lower levels of psychological well being and reduce employees work life imbalance. The study
consequently lower levels of WLB compared to the demonstrated that individual with the perceived
part-time working women. job flexibility have the benefit of good work life
balance and were capable of working longer
Emotional Intelligence and WLB
hours. Wayne et al. [114] suggested that limiting
According to Schutte et al. [90] Emotional work hours may benefit workers to increase the
intelligence is defined as the ability to adaptively level of work family balance because fewer work
recognize emotion, express emotion, regulate hours may contribute to reduction in work family
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conflict. Hill et al. [35] propounded that, flexi maternity leave had a positive impact on WLB.
time helps employees to manage their work and Hyman & Summers [41] demonstrated that
family responsibilities effectively there by employees in financial service sector of Scotland
allowing them to minimize work family conflict were prone to work-life balance issues and
and to improve the performance at work & home. emphasised the need for organisations and unions
Lingard, Francis and Turner [58] conducted a to develop a focus on work-life balance
study among project-based construction workers programmes. Lieva et al. [56] explored the impact
in a large civil engineering construction project in of the availability of work life balance practices on
Melbourne, Australia. The study captured data organisational outcomes in small and medium-
with regard to the number of hours worked, sized enterprises (SMEs) representing the metal
satisfaction with work life balance and capacity to industry sector of Southeast Spain. The results
complete required tasks at work & at home. showed that a WLB supportive culture mediates
Results demonstrated a strong correlation the availability of WLB practices.
between hours worked each week and
participants work & life experiences. The time Singh [95] measured perceived importance of
series modelling revealed that workers taking a WLB policies in two prominent IT based
short, temporary break from work can contribute companies in India. Induru and Pathan [43]
to improve work life balance. Julien, Somerville reviewed possible alternatives for employers and
and Culp [45] had examined the role of employees in the pharmaceutical sector to link
alternative work arrangements that helps to work life balance practices for organizational and
reduce work life conflict in the public sector. The personal performance. Rajadhyaksha [78]
Results revealed that a compressed work week is observed that commonly practised work-life
considered as an alternative work life interventions by Indian companies have been
arrangement that reduces work-life conflict and mainly oriented towards addressing issues such
helps to enhance work-life balance. High levels of as gender equality, flexibility, stress reduction,
management & superior support of flexible work health awareness and childcare. Miryala &
arrangements such as flexible hours and Chiluka [66] highlighted the importance of
compressed work week were positively related designing work life balance policies and programs
with the ability to balance personal, family and for teachers at different levels with respect to
work demands. Recent days, most of international government and private institutions in India.
studies have laid higher emphasis on flexible Purohit [77] had carried out a study among
work arrangements and new working conditions employees of leading corporate entities
compared to other work life balance initiatives representing, manufacturing, information
[54, 36, 26, 111, 9]. technology, educational and banking sectors in
Pune region, India, on organizational polices &
In Indian context, Madipelli, Sarma & provisions for work-life balance and emphasised
Chinnappaiah [60] investigating on factors the importance of effective work-life programs for
influencing work life imbalance among female maintaining symbiotic relationship between the
teachers at home and at work place observed that, employee and employer to achieve mutual
organizations having ineffective work benefits.
arrangements, poor working conditions, long
Work Support and WLB
working hours, lower income, pressurized work
environment etc., may be responsible for Thompson, Kirk, and Brown [104] showed that
monotony, frustration and stress towards work supervisors have significant influence on
and home among employees, which leads to work professional stress of female police officers and
life imbalance. Marital relationship, attitude and they can reduce moral exhaustion and contribute
cooperation of husband and family members were to a better work-life balance. Warner and
the other factors may also relate to WLB amidst Hausdorf [112] conducted a study on work life
working women. issues among health care workers in Canada. The
results indicated that a positive relationship
Work Life Balance Policies and Programmes and
exists between the organization and supervisor
support for work-life issues and reduction of work-
Straub [100] had investigated the contribution of to-family conflict. Tremblay, Genin & Loreto [106]
work life balance practices and policies in 14 illustrated the importance of organisational
European countries towards enhancing the career support to work-life balance in a demanding work
advancement of women to senior management environment among police officers and agents in
positions. The study identified that only the Qubec using case study methodology involving a
payment of additional emoluments during questionnaire and in-depth interviews. The
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findings substantiated the importance for [46] while role ambiguity refers to the lack of
organisations to offer formal and informal support clarity about the expectations of the role which
to employees in the work environment to balance may arise out of lack of understanding [76].
their work and family aspects. Fathima &
Sahibzada [23] had identified colleague support Jayanthi and Vanniarajan [44] had investigated
and job resources to be positively related with the the effect of work life imbalance on organizational
work life balance while unfair criticism at job has and family domain performance among executives
negative relation with work life balance among employed in service industry in southern part of
university teachers in Pakistan. India. The study identified that Organisational
role stress factors exert significant influence up
Job Stress & WLB
on work life imbalance. The investigators also
According to Stanton, et al. [99] job stress can be observed that the level of these factors to be
defined as individuals perception about work higher in private sector as compared to public
environment as threatening or demanding, or sector organizations and also higher among
discomfort experienced by an individual in the female executives than male executives.
work place. Work life balance has been linked to
Societal Factors Influencing WLB
the varied levels of job stress among employees in
different occupations [109, 116]. Bell, Rajendran The studies undertaken in determining the
& Theiler [8] investigated the relationships societal factors influencing the perception of work
between job-related stress, health, work-life life balance among individuals is explained in
balance and work-life conflict among Australian terms of childcare responsibilities, family & social
academia. The results indicated that high levels support along with other societal factors.
of job stress to be positively associated with
Childcare Responsibilities and WLB
increased work family conflict and ill-being, while
negatively correlated to work life balance and Various studies had suggested that family related
wellbeing. Over the past few decades, substantial factors such as number of children and childcare
research has demonstrated that anxiety related responsibilities lead to imbalance in work and
job stress has a negative effect on wellbeing family roles. Fathers experienced stress in child
amongst academia [5, 28, 51]. Devadoss & Minnie caring during the absence of employed wives from
[17] investigated the influence work related home [27]. Increased number of children at home
stressors on work life imbalance based on experts results in increased home demands causing
opinion. The data analyzed by means of Combined additional stress and work family conflict [59].
Overlap Block Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping Elliott [21] investigated on major difficulties faced
(COBFCM) model and identified a work related by the employed parents of small children
stressor that exhibit greater ability to strike a particularly of age below six years, in providing
proper balance between work and family domains. adequate child care. Additionally, child care as
well as care for elderly, imposes more emotional
Technology and WLB
burden on females compared to males. Ross and
Lester [57] identified that technology can either Mirowsky [86] showed that employed mothers
facilitate or hinder work life balance by creating a finding difficulties in child-care arrangements
more accessible and flexible environment at all experienced high depression.
times of day and night enabling individual to
work anywhere, any time. Waller and Ragsdell Padma and Reddy [73] conducted a study among
[110] investigated the impact of organizations teachers from various schools located in
dominated with e-mail culture up on employees Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh, India to
lives outside working hours. The study observed investigate the influence of child demographics
both positive as well as negative impact of the namely; number of children and their age on
culture on employees. WLB. The results revealed that school teachers
with more number of children (three children) and
Role Related Factors and WLB
also the childless teachers perceived similar WLB.
Greenhaus and Beutell [30] had identified that
Family Support and WLB
work domain factors such as, role conflict, role
ambiguity, working hours and inflexibility of the Societal factors namely family support including
work schedule have a vital role in developing spouse support was observed to have an impact on
work family conflict. Role conflict is the work life balance of individuals. Adams et al. [1]
simultaneous occurrence of two or more sets of in his studies observed that emotional and
pressures, such that adaptation with one role instrumental support from family as well as
makes adjustment with the other more difficult society was associated with lower levels of work
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family imbalance. Edralin [20] investigated on work-life balance within the working population.
balancing work demands with personal needs and Duxbury and Higgins [19] observed significant
family responsibilities by Filipina entrepreneurs increases in work-life conflict were observed
(EntrePinays), in order to sustain their business regardless of gender, job type and parental status
and at the same time live a meaningful and happy as compared to studies in the year 1991 among
life. Findings revealed that both positive and large sample of employees in Canada.
negative spillover effects of work-life Parasuraman and Simmers [75] revealed that
relationships. Negative spillover stimulates stress gender and job type had significant influence on
among the entrepreneurs while positive spillover work-family issues, job involvement and job
can lead to their elevated levels of life satisfaction. The influence of gender on work-life
satisfaction. The results demonstrated various issues was reported in many literatures. The
strategies to balance work and life such as studies have also indicated that the major stress
personal planning with proper time management, experienced by females experience arises from
the magnitude of spouse support for married family demands rather than work demands
entrepreneurs or the extent of support of the particularly when the family has children [102].
family members for non-business work Emslie, Hunt and Macintyre [22] identified that
responsibilities and activities, and delegation of factors affecting work and family life did vary by
routine jobs to trusted employees, usually a gender. Nurturing children and being in a senior
family member, having a flexible work schedule. position were more strongly related to work
home conflict for women than men. Barnett et al.
Other Societal Factors and WLB
[7] identified the relationship of income of
Greenhaus and Beutell [30] had identified family employees and balancing work and family
domain factors that have a vital role in developing responsibilities. Employees with lower income,
work family conflict and these factors comprised particularly single mothers, have more difficulties
of the number of children, spouse employment, in balancing work and family responsibilities.
family quarrel, low spouse support and
expectations for affection and openness. Thriveni and Rama [105] examined a significant
Parasuraman and Simmers [75] studied the relationship between demographic variables
relationship between parental responsibilities and namely; age, experience, marital status, income,
time obligation to family and work-family conflict type of family, number of dependents and
among self- and organisationally employed perception of work- life balance aamong women
individuals. The results showed that the outline of employees in Bangalore city, India. They also
work-family conflict predictors in the family articulated the importance of these relationships
domain varied according to employment status. for designing appropriate policies for employees to
Parental demand was positively related to work- deal with work life balance issues. Nathani and
family conflict among self-employed individuals, Jha [68] explored some of the factors influencing
while family involvement was negatively WLB namely, ageing population, emergence of
correlated with work-family conflict among service sector industries, technological
individuals employed in organisations. advancement of work, skill shortages, loss of
social support network, globalisation and
Nathani and Jha [68] had identified various demographic shift of workforce.
family related factors such as, increasing
Outcomes of Work Life Balance
participation of women, child bearing women and
dual career women in workforce, increasing The impact of perceived WLB on employees can
single-parent/ single person households and result in varied consequences in the work place as
increased child-care/ elder care burden to be well as in the personal and societal life. The
significantly influencing WLB of employees. literature reported on studies undertaken in
Mathew & Panchanatham [64] demonstrated the investigating the outcomes of WLB is broadly
important factors influencing work life balance of categorized in to work related outcomes and non-
women entrepreneurs in South India. The study work related outcomes and are highlighted in the
had observed that dependent care issues, quality ensuing sections.
of health, and lack of appropriate social support
WLB and Work Related Outcomes
as some of the major factors influencing the WLB
among women entrepreneurs. Hobson, Delunas and Kesic [37] proposed that the
continuous inability of employees to balance work
Other Factors influencing WLB
and life responsibilities may contribute to
Many studies had explored the influence of organizational performance in terms of increased
demographic variables and attitudinal issues on absenteeism & turnover, reduced productivity and
Shobitha Poulose & Sudarsan N|March-April 2014 | Vol.3 | Issue 2|01-17 9
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decreased job satisfaction. Howard, Donofrio and analysis showed a positive relationship among the
Boles [38] conducted a study among police variables without any significant differences
personnel and revealed that work-life balance between top, middle and lower level management.
significantly related to job satisfaction. Many Noor [71] identified the relationship between
researchers have established that the wellbeing perceived work-life balance and the intentions to
practices of management towards their employees leave among academia in Malaysian public higher
helps to achieve higher levels of job satisfaction education institutions. The results indicated that
and stronger commitment to their organization perceived satisfaction with work life balance was
[82, 83]. Hughes and Bozioneles [39] conducted a negatively correlated to intention to leave the
study among bus drivers and identified that work- organisation partially mediated by job satisfaction
life imbalance to be a major source of and organisational commitment. Maeran, Pitarelli
dissatisfaction for the participants rather than a & Cangiano [61] conducted an exploratory study
source of concern. In addition, participants to analyse the relationship between work life
demonstrated appreciable association between balance and job satisfaction among teachers in
work-life imbalance and withdrawal behaviours, Italy. The study investigated the role of work
including turnover and non-genuine sick absence. family conflict and work family enrichment and
Keeton et al. [50] explored the factors influencing vice versa to the job. Authors report a negative
career satisfaction, work life balance, and burnout correlation between work-family conflict and
among physicians. They observed that both family-work conflict to job satisfaction, similar to
women and men to be highly satisfied with their previous research in this area [10, 53, 70].
careers while only moderately satisfied with work
life balance and emotional resilience. The findings Shankar & Bhatnagar [92] examined the
of the study revealed that work life balance was literature in the field of Work-Life Balance and
significantly associated with career satisfaction proposed a conceptual model. The model focused
and the relationship is mediated by key factors on the correlation of Work- Life Balance construct
namely, control over schedule, total work hours, with other variables namely employee
marital status, and having child dependents in engagement, emotional consonance/dissonance
the household. In addition, generational and and turnover intention. The study demonstrated
gender shifts also strongly and significantly that higher work life balance leads to high
contribute to career satisfaction, worklife employee engagement, and low intention to quit.
balance, and burnout, while, older age was Rani, Kamalanabhan & Selvarani [80]
consistently associated with more worklife demonstrated the relationship between employee
balance and less burnout. Ilies, Wilson, & Wagner satisfaction and work life balance among
[42] examined the role of work-family integration employees working in IT organizations in
in the spillover of daily job satisfaction upon daily chennai, India. The study revealed high
marital satisfaction and emotional states correlation between work task and employee
experienced by employees at home. The samples satisfaction with WLB being a mediator variable.
chosen from university employees including The results demonstrated positive relationship
administrative professionals, supervisors, and between employee satisfaction and variables such
clerical-technical employees, indicated that as career opportunity, recognition, work task,
employees with higher daily job satisfaction to benefits, work/life balance and superior
experience lower negative effect at home. Smith subordinate relationship while being negatively
K. T [96] in his study on work-life balance associated with pay. The study proposed a SEM
perspectives of Millennial (those who born model in which the observed endogenous
between 1980 and 1995) job candidates observed variables were employee satisfaction and the
that work-life balance to have higher priority for work/life balance and the observed exogenous
current generation of workers in comparison to variables were career opportunities, recognition,
previous generation. Results of the study work task, pay and superior subordinate
indicated that the incumbents consider healthy relationship. Varatharaj & Vasantha [107]
work-life balance as a vital source for persons conducted an exploratory study among women
quality of work, job performance, ethical decision service sector employees with reference to chennai
making, and long-term job satisfaction and city, India to demonstrate their work life balance
generally declined extra pay in lieu of vacation as source of job satisfaction. Their study revealed
and flex time. Saif, Malik & Awan [88] examined that greater part of the women employees feel
the relationship of employee work satisfaction and comfortable in their work place irrespective of
prevalence of work life balance (WLB) practices their personal and work place disturbances and
among layoff survivors in two big organizations demonstrated ability to balance their duties &
operating in Pakistan. The results of regression responsibilities both in job as well as families.
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Nayeem & Tripathy [69] examined the health. The literature also proposes that
relationship of Job satisfaction with Work-Life imbalance between work and non-work activities
Balance (WLB), turnover intentions and burnout reduce psychological and physical well-being [103,
levels among teachers in technical Institutions. 98, 24]. Shanafelt et al. [91] conducted study on
The study pointed out that WLB to be a major burnout and satisfaction with work life balance
contributor toward Job satisfaction and males among large sample of US physicians in all
experience higher degree of burnout compared to specialty disciplines relative to the general US
female teachers. The study identified that WLB population. The results indicated that burnout
and Burnout had positive relationship with Job was more common among physicians as they tend
satisfaction. Sakthivel & Jayakrishnan [89] to work longer hours and have greater struggles
demonstrated that work life balance and with work-life integration. Physicians in general
organizational commitment were positively surgery, general surgery subspecialties, and
correlated among the nursing professional and obstetrics/ gynaecology were identified to suffer
can act as a predictor. Shree [93] identified from low levels work life balance.
significant relationship between work life balance
and career satisfaction among Critical Care Lakshmi, Ramachandran and Boohene [55]
Nurses in Private Hospitals at Coimbatore, India. identified the issues connected with work life
Rathi & Barath [81] conducted a study among 148 balance of female nurses in government and
police personnel based in India. Their study private hospitals in Tamil Nadu, India and the
demonstrated that work-to-family and family-to- results also indicated that both government and
work conflict to be negatively correlated with job private hospital nurses work life balance is a
satisfaction. They identified a significantly challengeable one. The study suggested that
moderate relationship of social support from co- government and private hospital management
workers to work-to-family and family-to-work need to be conscious of the status of female nurses
conflict and family satisfaction. Chimote & and periodically review their work and personal
Srivastava [11] conducted a survey on call center life satisfaction. Shree [94] identified the
employees in Gurgaon, in India and identified relationship between work life balance and
that organizations could benefit in terms of marital satisfaction among Critical Care Nurses
reduction in absenteeism and turnover, in Private Hospitals at Coimbatore, India.
improvement of productivity and image, and
Comments on Literature and Future
assured loyalty and retention, while, employees
perceived increased job satisfaction, job security, Directions
autonomy, reduced stress and improved health By reviewing the measurement scale, factors and
out of WLB. However, correlation analysis outcomes of work life balance in the international
indicated that while organizational perspective of and national level studies, researchers have made
WLB benefits significantly correlated with a primary discovery on factors of work life balance
absenteeism, employee perspective of WLB in the personal, organisational and societal level
benefits exhibited significant correlation with job of an individual and the possible outcomes, as the
satisfaction and autonomy. table shows (see Table 1 & 2). The salient areas
WLB and Non-Work Related Outcomes of contributions of the various studies and
investigations undertaken in one of the most vital
Better work-life balance and minimal work-life feature of effective performance management in
conflict can also be related to non-work related any organization have been compiled in order to
outcomes namely, life satisfaction, family elicit possible directions for furthering research in
satisfaction, marital and leisure satisfaction and this potential area is attempted.
family performance [3]. Hobson, Delunas and
Kesic [37] identified consequences of work-life Initial research in work life balance
imbalance as increased level of stress and stress- measurement was based on work family conflict
related illness, reduced life satisfaction and namely time, strain and behaviour based
heightened family conflict often resulting in conflicts. Subsequently researchers recognized
divorce. Hyman et al. [40] indicated that the role of conflict and enhancement from the
interference of work demands into personal life work and family domains and developed scales
could be related to the development of severe accordingly. Few researchers had employed
stress, sleeplessness and emotional exhaustion factors like time and satisfaction for the
among employees in UK call-centres and software measurement of work life balance. One of the
development sectors. Additionally, employees scales developed in Indian context employs team
perceived that interference of work obligations work, compensation and benefits to estimate
into their personal lives negatively affected employee work life balance. Most of scales have
Shobitha Poulose & Sudarsan N|March-April 2014 | Vol.3 | Issue 2|01-17 11
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been concentrated on interference and rather than focused towards individual and
enrichment between work and family domains personal interference and enrichment.

Table 1: Factors of WLB

Individual Factors Organisational Factors Societal Factors Other Factors
1. Personality 1. Work arrangements 1. Child care 1. Age
2. Well being 2. Work life balance arrangements 2. Gender
3. Emotional intelligence practices & policies 2. Spouse support 3. Marital status
3. Organisation support 3. Family support 4. Parental status
4. Superior support 4. Social support 5. Experience
5. Colleague support 5. Personal & family 6. Employee level
6. Job stress demands 7. Job type
7. Role conflict 6. Dependent care issues 8. Income
8. Role ambiguity 7. Family quarrel 9. Type of family
9. Role overload
10. Technology

Table 2: Outcomes of WLB

Non work related policies and programmes, work support, job
Work related outcomes Outcomes
1. Job / Work satisfaction 1. Marital satisfaction stress, technology and role related factors.
2. Career satisfaction 2. Family satisfaction International studies reported had been mostly
3. Organisational 3. Life satisfaction
commitment 4. Leisure satisfaction
concentrated on flexible work arrangements
4. Employee turnover 5. Burnout while Indian studies mainly focus on work life
5. Absenteeism 6. Health outcomes balance policies and programmes. Combined
6. Retention of employees 7. Family performance
7. Job performance
Overlap Block Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping
(COBFCM) model was reported in one of the
Majority of the scales have been developed on studies to identify major work related stressor
the foundation of the western societal and work on WLB. Studies in International arena had
context. Most of the instruments developed focused on sectors namely; IT, construction,
posses high degree of validity and reliability in public sector, SMEs, health care, financial
their context. Nevertheless the organizational service and police while, Indian studies on
cultures, customs, values in India differ from education, IT, pharmaceutical and service
that of the western countries. The scales sectors. Multi sector comparisons of WLB have
developed in Indian context have been only a few also been reported.
and hence capturing all the dimensions proposed
for western context may not be possible. Societal factors of WLB had been reported in
various literatures focused on childcare
Among the studies relating to individual factors responsibilities, family & social support along
influencing WLB, the major focus had been on with other societal factors such as spouse
the factors such as personality, well being and employment, family quarrel, parental
emotional intelligence. Studies carried out in responsibilities, dependent care issues etc.
India as well as in other countries focus Entrepreneurs had been the key area of focus for
essentially to explain the relationship between both Indian and international studies, while one
personality and WLB, while few studies had of the studies reported compare between self
been reported in Indian arena to elucidate the employed and organisationally employed
relationship between psychological well being individuals.
and emotional intelligence on WLB. Fuzzy
relationship mapping model was reported in one Demographical factors such as age, gender,
of the studies to determine the personality marital status, experience, income, type of
dimension that exhibit greater ability to balance family etc; had been reported to be influencing
between work and life. International studies WLB in addition to individual, organisational
have been concentrated on corporates and and societal factors. Studies carried out in both
hospitals while, Indian studies hover around Indian and foreign countries attempts to
educational and IT sectors. elucidate the relationship of the factors jointly or
individually with WLB. Literature had been
Studies reported in organisational factors more focussed onto organisational or work
influencing WLB, the key focus had been given related factors influencing WLB rather than
to flexible work arrangements, work life balance individual and societal factors. Hence the factors

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pertaining to individual and societal aspects can Indian and international arena. Future research
be a potential area for future research. work can be devoted towards employing
different modelling techniques such as Fuzzy
WLB has been recognised to contribute to work neural models towards better insight in to the
related consequences such as reduced work interrelationship existing between the various
satisfaction, employee turnover, increased parameters influencing WLB leading to accurate
absenteeism, diminished organisational estimation.
commitment & performance and non work
related consequences namely reduced marital, It can also be observed that while most
family & life satisfaction and poorer health International studies have covered different
outcomes. Studies have given higher economic strata from lower level to higher level
concentration towards organisational income group, Indian studies have been carried
consequences both in Indian and international out among middle income groups and have been
arena. Studies in foreign countries had focused less focused particularly on lower income
on police personnel, bus drivers, physicians, employees.
teachers and call centre & software employees
while, Indian studies dwell on nurses, teachers,
IT & call centre employees. Few studies had The concept of work life balance has attracted the
been reported on employing Structural equation attention of not only different organizations but
modelling (SEM) to visualise the relationship also researchers and HR practitioners. This
between the different factors and WLB. mainly could be attributed to ever increasing
demands of work along with increased family
International studies on WLB had been carried demands owing to the necessity of spouses to be
out in various sectors namely, IT, health care, employed and quest for personal achievements in
financial service, SMEs, police, transportation, personal life. This paper is an attempt to compile
education, call centres etc. In similar lines, together salient investigations on work life
Indian studies could also be undertaken in balance undertaken nationally and
estimation of WLB in health care, police and internationally across different sectors of
transportation sector. employment towards identifying intricate
interrelationships existing between different life
Numerous studies reported on WLB pertain to and employment parameters, to provide a
education and IT sectors in both India and conceptual understanding through various
abroad. Detailed Investigation in this direction theories propounded and the measurement scales
may be undertaken for understanding the used in a range of studies, along with various
similarities and differences of results in these factors and possible consequences of WLB.
sectors in an attempt to explain the reasons for Additionally, the paper also attempts to explore
variations if any. Particularly, India in itself possible scope for further research in the area for
being a diversified country, huge potential exist achieving better modelling and thereby enable
in identifying regional differences in perceiving accurate estimations of WLB among employees
WLB. towards ensuring higher performance deliverance.

A very few studies reported have employed

mathematical modelling techniques to
interrelate parameter influencing WLB both in

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