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 5: Crossover effects in work–family interface between Chinese dual-earner couples

Huimin Liu and Fanny M. Cheung


Crossover refers to the interpersonal process that occurs when job stress or strain experienced by one person affects the level of strain of another person in the same social environment. The scope of crossover could be broadened to incorporate the transmission of positive experiences as well. Crossover can present a dyadic perspective on work–family research, as it allows for an investigation of how experiences are transferred on the inter-individual level. The present chapter will, from a research base, discuss crossover effects in the work–family literature in contemporary Chinese societies. We will begin with a review of Western-based theories and research on work–family crossover effects, followed by a discussion of existing empirical studies conducted with Chinese samples. Furthermore, potential limitations of current crossover studies are identified, and a research agenda is lined out. We highlight that due to the unique Chinese work and family contexts, Chinese dual-earner couples may experience crossover in a way not fully captured by a Western perspective. Future investigation is encouraged to extend the Western-based model of crossover by incorporating culture-specific factors particularly relevant to the Chinese society. A direct comparison of crossover processes between nationally or culturally representative samples is also a fruitful avenue in future research, as it has the potential to challenge work–family assumptions that are historically country and culture bound.

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