Handbook of Research on Work–Life Balance in Asia
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Handbook of Research on Work–Life Balance in Asia

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.
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Chapter 3: Work–family conflicts and coping strategies in Asia

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.

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