In this chapter we examine work–life balance policies and initiatives in Malaysia. We begin by first considering the Employment Act (1955), the most important legislation that specifies the minimum working terms related to wages, working hours, leave, termination and lay-off benefits for employees in the country. Next, we discuss women’s employment and in the process of strengthening human resources, the work–life policies and practices that have been initiated to help them harmonize between their work and family. In reality, however, these work–life balance practices are sorely lacking, especially for those who most need them. We present data based on an exploratory study examining the availability and use of some of these work–life balance initiatives within a university setting in the country and discuss their implications on employees. Finally, taking into account current realities and employees’ needs for better work–life balance, we conclude with several suggestions. These include addressing cultural norms regarding gender roles; direct intervention by the state to change how work and family are perceived and to transfer care from the home to the public sector; and mandating public and private sectors to provide work–life policies within their organizations.
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Noraini M. Noor and Nor Diana Mohd Mahudin
Chang-qin Lu, Xiao-min Xu and David E. Caughlin
Using a Chinese sample, the current study investigated work-to-home interference (WHI) in relation to strain and job performance, as well as the moderating effect of Chinese work value (CWV). A total of 513 employees participated in the study. The results showed that WHI was positively related to employees’ physical and psychological strain, while a negative but non-significant relationship was found between WHI and job performance. Further, CWV was found to moderate the above relationships. Specifically, high levels of CWV exacerbated the negative associations between employees’ WHI and their physical and psychological strain. Unexpectedly, for employees with high CWV, job performance was higher when WHI was high compared to when it was low. The results highlight the importance of incorporating culture-specific value constructs when examining the work–home interface.
Hsiu-Lan Shelley Tien and Yu-Chen Wang
Multiple role conflict is an important issue for women in Asia society, especially in the ‘dual-earner’ family. Women’s participation in the workforce has increased. Sometimes they take leading roles, but they often have to put in more effort and energy to earn prestige in traditionally male-dominated professions. In the meantime, they still have to take responsibility for children’s health and psychological development. It is obvious that work–family conflict and coping strategies for females are important issues. In this chapter, we provide a hierarchical model to interpret career barriers perceived by women. The core categories of career barriers are: background/environment, personal/psychological, and social/interpersonal. Based on this, Tien (1998) developed the Chinese Career Barriers Inventory (CCBI). She found that female students perceived more serious barriers than males. These are barriers related to sex discrimination, family responsibility, and interference from marriage and having children. Meanwhile, coping strategies corresponding to certain categories of conflict are also discussed. It is clear that females need to overcome conflict caused by marriage, family, and children. Conflicts between family and work are important issues for professional women to discuss and overcome for well-being and life satisfaction. In addition, we also provide a path model for causes of life satisfaction and well-being/personal growth. The main factors in the model are work-to-family conflict, family-to-work conflict, and informal work accommodations to family. Finally, we recommend four agendas for future research into the topic of work–family conflict.
Hong Kong is regarded as an international city with a high level of female labor force participation, approximately 55 percent in recent years. Yet Hong Kong is not actively addressing work–family interface issues. This chapter begins with a brief description of the Chinese cultural context of Hong Kong, and conceptualization of work–family interface and family-friendly employment policies and practices (FEPPs). An overview of FEPPs and their benefits will then be provided. In addition, a review on research on FEPPs in Hong Kong will follow. Implications of research findings for the work–family interface at societal, organizational, family, and individual levels will also be provided in this chapter.
Yuan Li and Jianmin Sun
With the increasing number of dual-earner households, work–family conflict has become more and more apparent and results in negative consequences, such as job burnout. This study examines the mechanism in the effect of work–family conflict (namely, work–family interference) on job burnout and explores the relationships among gender-role attitude, work–family conflict, and job burnout. Results indicate that when work interferes with family, greater work–family conflict induces higher job burnout (namely, higher emotional exhaustion, reduced personal accomplishment and depersonalization). The positive relationship between work–family conflict and job burnout is stronger for individuals who have an equal gender-role attitude than for those who have a traditional gender-role attitude. This study demonstrates the importance of gender-role attitude and enriches the empirical study of work–family issues. Implications for management practices and limitations of this study are discussed.
Korea has made great economic growth during the last 40 years. However, the aftermath of long working hours and work–life imbalance has adversely affected the birth rate and impaired productivity and job satisfaction among employees. The increasing number of long-distance married couples due to the corporate environment worsens employees’ stress from spending much time commuting and having difficulties in maintaining work–life balance (WLB). Spending more time at the workplace and work-related social gatherings, spending less time in family settings, and still-existing gender inequalities inevitably lead to the problems in WLB and life satisfaction, as indicated in some research articles and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Better Life Index. To improve WLB, the Korean government and workplaces have been trying to implement family-friendly policies and related corporate programmes during the last decade. As a result, much advancement has been achieved. The policies have been revised and updated almost every year to help employees to spend more time in raising children and in leisure/family activities. However, some companies are not willing to follow the policies and thus, the utilization rate of family-friendly programmes among corporates is still low. The work-oriented social culture is still very strong. Employees’ distress related with WLB issues and the details of WLB policies will be discussed in detail.
The aim of this chapter is to provide evidence for a cultural theory of work and family interference (WFI) using findings from recent studies conducted in Taiwan. I propose that ‘culture’ plays a critical part in constructing people’s conceptions of work and family, guiding their lived experiences in both domains, and shaping the underlying mechanisms of the work and family interface. I will review empirical evidence derived from qualitative and quantitative, cross-sectional and longitudinal, monocultural and cross-cultural studies to support the above cultural theory of work and family. Such evidence illustrates both similarities and differences in the WFI experiences between Taiwan Chinese and their Western counterparts. I argue that we need to sharpen the cultural thrust to understand the dynamism of work and family across diverse cultural contexts, the Chinese Confucian tradition in particular, culturally and economically. I argue too that we need to tie empirical research to organizational stress management interventions to cope with WFI.
In recent years, rapidly changing working conditions have stimulated employees to invest more time and effort in work. These changes call for a better understanding of how heavy work investment (i.e., a strong focus on the task at hand and a high level of dedication to work) impacts employees and organizations. The aim of this chapter is to discuss heavy work investment and its outcomes in terms of work–family balance among Japanese dual-earner couples. In the first part of the chapter, I introduce two different types of heavy work investment (workaholism and work engagement) and describe correlates of them with well-being and job performance. In the second part, I introduce working conditions and family structures in Japan. In the third part, I refer to the spillover–crossover model as a conceptual framework and then move to a general overview of empirical studies conducted in Japan. Finally, I discuss future directions of work–life balance research in terms of the spillover–crossover model.
Edited by Luo Lu and Cary Cooper
In Asian societies, work and family issues are only recently beginning to gain attention. The pressure of rapid social change and increasing global competition is compounded by the long hours work culture, especially in the Pan-Confucian societies such as Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea. Furthermore, with the rising female labor participation, more and more Asian employees are now caught between the demands of work and family life.