Work schedule, work schedule
control and satisfaction in
relation to work-family conﬂict,
work-family synergy, and domain
Nicholas J. Beutell
Hagan School of Business, Iona College, New Rochelle, New York, USA
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of work schedules on work-family conﬂict
and synergy using the job demands-resources (JD-R) and conservation of resources models. The impact
of resources including supervisor support, work schedule control and satisfaction, as well as the
moderating effects of work schedules on conﬂict (synergy) and domain satisfaction are examined.
Design/methodology/approach – This quantitative study examined responses from
organizationally-employed respondents (n¼2;810) from the 2002 National Study of the Changing
Workforce using MANOVA and multiple regressions.
Findings – Work schedules were signiﬁcantly related to work-interfering with family (WIF) and
work-family synergy (W-FS) but not for family interfering with work (FIW). Perceived supervisory
support was signiﬁcantly related to employee work schedule control and work schedule satisfaction.
Perceived control of work schedule and work schedule satisfaction were signiﬁcantly related to
work-family conﬂict and synergy. Work schedules moderated the relationship between work-family
conﬂict (synergy) and domain satisfaction.
Research limitations/implications – Although based on a national probability sample, this study
may suffer from common method variance since all measures were from the same self-report
Practical implications – The results do suggest that solutions like increased schedule ﬂexibility for
all workers may not be efﬁcacious in reducing work-family conﬂict or increasing work-family synergy.
Employee control over work schedule, employee satisfaction with work schedule, and supervisor
support need to be considered as well.
Originality/value – This study examined the impact of work schedules on work-family conﬂict and
synergy. It is noteworthy since very little research has been conducted on work schedules and
synergy. The results also broaden evidence for the JD-R and conservation of resources models.
Keywords Family, Employees, Role conlﬂict
Paper type Research paper
The theoretical and empirical literature on work-family conﬂict (Greenhaus and
Beutell, 1985) and work-family synergy (Beutell and Wittig-Berman, 2008) has tacitly
assumed that work is structured in a traditional, Monday through Friday, 9:00am to
5:00pm framework and, that, family role activities are enacted based on such a work
schedule. Yet, only one in three employed adult Americans works a typical day shift
(Presser, 1995; 1999). When the “work” in work-family occurs in a form other than a
traditional day schedule (e.g. rotating shifts) discontinuities between work and the rest
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Received 16 January 2010
Revised 23 March 2010
18 June 2010
Accepted 25 June 2010
Career Development International
Vol. 15 No. 5, 2010
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
of life (particularly family) can occur (Wilson et al., 2007). Understanding the impact of
various work schedules, including supervisory and organizational discretion (Ortega,
2009), has important career implications. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that
workers believe that work schedules can hinder career development (Kelly and Moen,
2007). Further, women on ﬂexible schedules may be perceived as having less job-career
dedication and less advancement motivation (Rogier and Padgett, 2004). Yet, Cooper
(2005) has argued that the future of ﬂexible working can be liberating giving power
and control to employees. The present study was designed to examine work schedules,
work schedule control, and work schedule satisfaction in relation to work-family
conﬂict and synergy.
Synergy is the term used in the present study to describe how work and family,
acting in concert, can create beneﬁcial feelings and outcomes that are greater than the
effects each is able to create independently (Beutell, 2006; Beutell and Wittig-Berman,
2008). Voydanoff (2004) used the term synergy to characterize work-family facilitation:
“A form of synergy in which resources associated with one role enhance or make easier
participation in the other role” (Voydanoff, 2004, p. 399). Work-family synergy is
distinct from, and not a substitute for, work interfering with family (WIF) and family
interfering with work (FIW). Stated differently, low levels of WIF and FIW is not
equivalent to W-FS.
Unlike work-family enrichment (a speciﬁc form of work-family facilitation) that
requires that resources be applied in the other domain (Carlson et al., 2006; Greenhaus
and Powell, 2006), synergy is intended to reﬂect energy and mood states that transcend
each role. Although various labels depicting the positive side of work and family have
been used interchangeably (Frone, 2003), work-family synergy refers speciﬁcally to
positive energy and mood states that emerge from participating in work and family
roles. And, distinct from related concepts, work-family synergy is conceptualized and
measured as the frequency of experiencing positive energy and mood states as opposed
to a discrete transfer of resources between domains. As such, work-family synergy
incorporates the temporal aspects of interaction between work and family roles.
Thus, the present study examines the impact of different work schedules on
work-family synergy (W-FS) in addition to the two types of work-family conﬂict, WIF
and FIW. The connection between work-family synergy and work-family conﬂict is
weak (or negative) from a statistical perspective and the concepts are theoretically
distinct. However, a recent discussion (Powell and Greenhaus, 2006) has explored this
in more detail and additional research is needed to further clarify this issue. The
present study will proceed under the assumption that conﬂict and synergy are distinct
Theoretical model and the impact of work schedules
The present study uses the Job Demands-Resources model (JD-R) (e.g. Bakker and
Demerouti, 2007) and conservation of resources model (Hobfoll, 1989) to examine the
impact of work schedules on work-family conﬂict and synergy. The JD-R model
assumes that stress from any occupational role stem from two categories, job demands
and job resources. Job demands refer to aspects of the job that require sustained effort,
and, as such incur certain costs as a result. The demands can be physical,
psychological, social, or organizational aspects of the job. In this study, a rotating shift
schedule would be an example of a job demand that could result in physical and
emotional depletion of the job incumbent. Job resources, on the other hand, include
aspects of the job that help in achieving work goals, reduce demands, and stimulate
personal growth. Supervisor support and perceived work schedule control would be
examples from the present study.
The JD-I model also posits dual underlying psychological processes that affect the
development of job strain and motivation (Bakker and Demerouti, 2007). In case of job
strain, poorly designed jobs or excessive job demands can exhaust an employee’s
physical and mental resources resulting in depleted energy, and, eventually, health
problems. The second process involves motivation by advancing the idea that job
resources have motivational potential that can lead to work engagement and
outstanding performance. A distinction is also made between intrinsic and extrinsic
motivations: the former can generate growth and development while the latter may be
instrumental in achieving work goals.
The conservation of resources theory (Hobfoll, 1989, 2002) provides some insights
into the impact of work schedules. This theory argues that individuals attempt to
achieve a balance between demands and resources by reducing demands or increasing
resources to cope with existing demands. If demands exceed resources over the long
term well-being is decreased. Brotheridge and Lee (2005) have used this model in a
study examining work overload, supervisor support, job distress, work-family conﬂict,
and well-being. Taken together, the JD-R and conservation of resources models inform
the hypotheses in the present study.
Work schedules and work-family conﬂict and synergy
The impact of work schedules on work and family roles can be understood using the
JD-R model. Work schedules are a demand since each schedule type (e.g. ﬂexible,
rotating) requires a different type of time commitment that can result in physical and
psychological depletion of the employee. And, work-schedules contribute to time-based
conﬂict between work and family roles: time devoted to work is not available for family
role performance and an employee with a salient work role may be preoccupied with
work when at home (Greenhaus and Beutell, 1985). Indeed, the number of hours
worked and schedule inﬂexibility have been associated with work-family conﬂict
(Greenhaus and Beutell, 1985). Family role demands have also been associated with
higher levels of work-family conﬂict as well. Work schedule ﬂexibility, on the other
hand, has been shown to have positive consequences on employee outcomes (Haar,
2007). Greenhaus and Powell (2006) included ﬂexibility as one of the major resources in
their model of work-family enrichment. Flexibility is the discretion to determine how
role requirements are met. One such consequence of such ﬂexibility might be the
reduction of work-family conﬂict or the enhancement of work-family synergy.
Much of our knowledge about the effects of different work schedules comes from
limited samples or case studies focusing on susceptible occupational groups (e.g. shift
work among nurses). Many studies investigate shift workers only so comparisons with
employees working a standard day schedule or another type of schedule cannot be
made (Fenwick and Tausig, 2001). Working a schedule other than a traditional day
schedule may make employees more likely to experience conﬂict the work and family
roles (Wilson et al., 2007). Certain work schedules may be more out of “sync” with
family life heightening the possibility of work-family conﬂict. On the other hand,
certain schedules (e.g. ﬂex time) may enhance performance in both work and family
leading to reduced conﬂict and enhanced work-family synergy. Thus, the ﬁrst goal of
the present study was to test, using a national probability sample, how various work
schedules, including traditional scheduling, relate to work-family conﬂict and synergy.
Supervisory support is a signiﬁcant resource in the JD-R model. Having a high-quality
relationship with one’s supervisor may help to reduce certain job demands (Bakker and
Demerouti, 2007) such as a difﬁcult or demanding work schedule. An employee’s
perception of schedule control and schedule satisfaction may depend on the attitudes,
behaviors, and support of their supervisor (Wang and Walumbwa, 2007) as perceived
by employees (Aselage and Eisenberger, 2003). For many employees, their supervisor
is the literal and ﬁgurative face of organizational support. And, although a supervisor
may not be able to provide a work schedule that is not organizationally sanctioned, the
supervisor has the power to formally or informally create an environment that is
supportive or disruptive of the work schedule that employees actually have. Consistent
with the conservation of resources model, supervisor support may reduce role demands
or provide resources that enhance job performance (Brotheridge and Lee, 2005).
Supervisor support may help employees reframe their work demands so they are more
manageable and enhance their coping skills (Bakker et al., 2007). Additionally,
supervisors typically decide if an individual can modify his or her work schedule (Kelly
and Moen, 2007). Such a relationship would strengthen (or weaken) employee feelings
of schedule control and satisfaction. And, similarity between the supervisor and
employee may increase the sense of support that the employee feels. Further,
supervisors may also exhibit family-friendly support when they identify with
employees’ family issues and concerns (e.g. Foley et al., 2006). Thus, employee
perceptions of supervisory support would be expected to inﬂuence employee
perceptions of work schedule control and satisfaction with their work schedule.
Work schedule control and satisfaction in relation to WIF, FIW, and W-FS
In addition to the actual work schedule, employees’ perceived control over their work
schedule (Fenwick and Tausig, 2001) and satisfaction with work schedule may be
important factors affecting the impact of work on family and other areas of life (Kelly
and Moen, 2007). Findings reported by Staines and Pleck (1984) and Kinnunen and
Mauno (1998) suggest the positive effects of schedule ﬂexibility on family outcomes.
Lack of schedule control has been found to have signiﬁcant, negative relationships
with lack of work-home balance and conﬂict between work and home (Fenwick and
Tausig, 2001; Greenhaus and Beutell, 1985). In the JD-R model, schedule control and
schedule satisfaction are personal resources that allow the employee to meet
organizational expectations, reﬂexive or self-sent expectations of control, and
expectations for successfully meeting family role demands. In addition, Bandura (1997)
believed that “beliefs about control are key components of self-knowledge, which
predict positive outcomes regardless of the enactments of those beliefs. This suggests a
direct effect of perceived schedule control on work-family conﬂict” (Kelly and Moen,
2007, p. 493). Following successful enactment, self-efﬁcacy feelings would increase
thereby increasing satisfaction. As such, it seems reasonable to expect that schedule
control and satisfaction would have similarly beneﬁcial effects on reducing
work-family conﬂict and enhancing work-family synergy.
Moderating effects of work schedule: conﬂict (synergy) and satisfaction
Bakker and Demerouti (2007) identiﬁed interaction effects as one of the research needs
in further developing the JD-R model. The idea that any two variables in the
stressor-strain sequence can buffer or interact has been advanced by Kahn and
Byosserie (1992). Given the ﬂexibility of the JD-R model, the present study will extend
this thinking by examining how a job demand (i.e. work schedule) can moderate the
relationship between conﬂict (synergy) and measures of satisfaction (a proxy for
well-being). In theory, work schedules, a job demand, would potentially lead to stress
or eustress that would generate strain or positive affect (in this case work-family
conﬂict or synergy, respectively) that would lead to feelings of well-being (i.e. domain
satisfaction) or exhaustion. This line of reasoning addresses a gap in the literature
identiﬁed by Haar (2008). Haar (2008) has argued that few studies have examined the
moderator effects of work schedules (like ﬂextime) in relation to work-family conﬂict
and outcomes such as satisfaction. This is surprising since many studies argue for the
beneﬁcial effects of schedule ﬂexibility as a mechanism to reduce potential conﬂicts (or
enhance synergy) between work and family roles. Haar’s study did ﬁnd evidence that
ﬂextime moderated the relationship between work-family outcomes and job
satisfaction. The present study extends this idea to include a range of work
schedules and four types of satisfaction: job satisfaction, family satisfaction, marital
satisfaction, and life satisfaction. Work-family conﬂict has been associated with
decreased job, family, marital, and life satisfaction (Allen et al., 2000; Beutell and
Wittig-Berman, 1999). On the other hand, work-family synergy (W-FS) would be
expected to increase satisfaction with job, family, marriage, and life (Beutell, 2007;
Beutell and Wittig-Berman, 2008). Work schedules would be expected to moderate the
relationship between work-family conﬂict (synergy) and satisfaction.
In summary, this study addressed four research questions relating to the impact of
employee work schedules using the JD-R and conservation of resources models:
(1) are employee work schedules related to signiﬁcant differences in work-family
conﬂict and synergy?;
(2) is perceived supervisor support signiﬁcantly related to employee control in
scheduling hours of work and employee satisfaction with work schedule?;
(3) are perceived employee control over work schedule and work schedule
satisfaction related to work-family conﬂict and synergy?; and
(4) do employee work schedules moderate the relationship between work-family
conﬂict (work-family synergy) and domain satisfaction (i.e. job, life, marital, and
The sample consisted of organizationally-employed (i.e. excluding the self-employed)
participants (n¼2;810) from the 2002 National Study of the Changing Workforce
(Total n¼3;504) conducted by Harris Interactive using a questionnaire designed by
the Families and Work Institute (Public Use Files: www.familyandwork.org). Sample
eligibility was limited to people who:
.worked at a paid job or operated an income-producing business;
.were 18 years or older;
.were in the civilian labor force;
.resided in the contiguous 48 states; and
.lived in a non-institutional residence – i.e. household – with a telephone.
In households with more than one eligible person, one was randomly selected to be
interviewed. Interviewers offered cash honoraria of $25 as an incentive to participate.
A total 60 percent of the participants worked for a private, for-proﬁt business, 8
percent worked for a non-proﬁt organization, and 18 percent worked for a
governmental agency. With respect to gender, 1,170 men (42.7 percent) and 1,640
women (58.3 percent) participated.
Each of the measures used in this study was developed by the Families and Work
Institute for their quinquennial (every ﬁve years) studies of the US workforce. Many of
the measures have been used in previous studies dating to the Quality of Employment
Survey (Quinn and Staines, 1979) and the Families and Work Institute 1992 and 1997
(Bond et al., 1998) studies. Coefﬁcient alpha (a), reliability coefﬁcients, are presented for
multi-item scales. Recent studies using this data set include Beutell and Wittig-Berman
(2008), Prottas (2008), Prottas and Thompson (2006), and Voydanoff (2005).
Work-family conﬂict and synergy
Beutell and Wittig-Berman (2008) factor analyzed the work and family items from the
National Study of the Changing Workforce (2002) for all wage and salary participants
(n¼2;796) using a principal components analysis with a varimax rotation. Three
“clean” factors emerged in this order: WIF, FIW, and WFS. WIF (a¼0:87) consisted of
ﬁve items (I frequently have no energy to do things with my family because of my job).
FIW (a¼0:82) also had ﬁve items (I don’t have enough time for my job because of my
family). Work-family synergy consisted of four items (a¼0:67) for the 2002 sample
(e.g. frequency of having more energy to do things with family because of my job;
having more energy at work because of my family/personal life). The synergy factor is
signiﬁcant since it was identiﬁed as one of the research gaps by Byron (2005) and
recently reviewed as work-family enrichment by Greenhaus and Powell (2006).
Work schedule was assessed using the following item: Which of the following best
describes your work schedule (at your main job) – a regular daytime schedule, a
regular evening shift, a regular night shift, a rotating shift – one that changes
periodically from day to evening or night, a split shift consisting of two distinct periods
each workday, or a ﬂexible or variable schedule in which you are on call with no set
Work schedule control and satisfaction
Work schedule control was measure by one item: overall, how much control would you
say you have in scheduling your work hours – complete control, a lot of control, some
control, very little control, or none (no control)? Responses were coded so that higher
scores indicate more control over the work schedule. Satisfaction with work schedule
used the following item: is your identiﬁed work schedule perfect for you, okay but
could be better, not very good, or not at all what you want? Higher scores indicate
higher satisfaction levels.
Supervisor’s support was measured using nine items (e.g. My supervisor keeps me
informed of things I need to do on the job; a¼0:90). Response scales ranged from
“strongly disagree” to “strongly agree” and the items were summed with a high score
indicating more support.
Job satisfaction, marital satisfaction, family satisfaction, and life satisfaction
Four types of satisfaction were used as outcomes of work-family conﬂict and synergy.
Job satisfaction ða¼0:68) was measured using two items: how satisﬁed are you with
your job and would you take the same job again. The items were summed and then
averaged. Marital satisfaction, family satisfaction, and life satisfaction were measured
using single-item measures of overall satisfaction with higher scores indicating higher
levels of satisfaction.
Table I shows the means, standard deviations, and inter-correlations for the major
study variables. Notice that all but one correlations are statistically signiﬁcant and in
the predicted direction.
Work schedule differences in work-family conﬂict and synergy
Recall that the ﬁrst research question focused on differences in work-family conﬂict
and synergy for each type of work schedule (e.g. day, evening, rotating). A one-factor,
between-subjects multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to test
for overall differences. WIF, FIW, and W-FS served as dependent variables, work
schedule comprised the independent variable, while gender and having a child under
the age of six years were entered as covariates. The a priori level of signiﬁcance was
set at 0.05. Results from the MANOVA were statistically signiﬁcant according to
Wilkes Lamda (L) (0.98), F(18, 7558) ¼2.41, p,0:001). Table II presents the
MANOVA results along with between subjects’ effects. Two of the three univariate
ANOVAs were statistically signiﬁcant: WIF (Fð6;2674Þ¼2:75, p,0:05) and W-FS
(Fð6;2674Þ¼3:87, p,0:01). The analysis for FIW was not signiﬁcant (FIW
Table III reports the post hoc pair-wise comparisons following the signiﬁcant
MANOVA for work schedules controlling for gender and having a child less than age
six in the home. These results indicated that, for WIF, those who worked evenings,
nights, rotating shifts, and other schedules were signiﬁcantly higher in WIF conﬂict
that those with a traditional day schedule. Those who worked an evening schedule
were signiﬁcantly lower in conﬂicts than those who worked “other schedules”. For
W-FS, those working evening or night schedules had signiﬁcantly lower levels of
synergy than those on a traditional day schedule or a ﬂex/variable schedule. And those
working a ﬂex/variable schedule were had signiﬁcantly higher W-FS than those
working rotating shifts. These results indicate that work schedules have a signiﬁcant,
direct effect on WIF and W-FS (but not on FIW) while controlling for gender and
having a child under the age of six years.
Variable Mean SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1. WIF 2.49 0.88 (0.87)
2. FIW 2.08 0.68 0.55 *(0.82)
3. W-F Synergy 2.98 0.77 20.11 *20.02 (0.67)
4. Supervisor support 3.36 0.63 20.34 *20.11 *0.22 *(0.90)
5. Schedule control 3.08 1.59 20.19 *20.08 *0.11 *0.22 *
6. Schedule satisfaction 3.46 0.64 20.30 *20.15 *0.15 *0.25 *0.27 *
7. Job satisfaction 3.02 0.56 20.34 *20.14 *0.24 *0.49 *0.23 *0.35 *(0.68)
8. Life satisfaction 3.27 0.69 20.33 *20.31 *0.26 *0.26 *0.15 *0.23 *0.37 *
9. Marital satisfaction 3.35 0.78 20.17 *20.25 *0.18 *0.17 *0.08 *0.14 *0.18 *0.42 *
10. Family satisfaction 3.03 0.84 20.24 *20.33 *0.23 *0.18 *0.10 *0.18 *0.19 *0.52 *0.58 *
Notes: WIF ¼work interfering with family; FIW ¼family interfering with work; items in parentheses are coefﬁcient alphas for multi-item scales;
(Pearson), and reliability
coefﬁcients for major
Supervisor support and employee schedule control and satisfaction
The relationship between supervisory support and employee control in scheduling
work hours and employee satisfaction with work schedule was tested using multiple
regression analysis (research question 2). To control for supervisory similarity,
supervisor’s gender and racial similarity to the employee were entered in the ﬁrst
equation. Then, employee work schedule control and satisfaction were regressed on
supervisory support. Table IV shows the regression results for this research question.
For the control variables, note that supervisor’s gender was not signiﬁcant but that
racial/ethnic similarity (dichotomously coded 1 ¼yes and 2 ¼no) of employee and
supervisor did have a statistically signiﬁcant effect on perceived supervisor support
¼20:05, p,0:05). This means that there was a tendency for employees to view
ethnic/racially similar supervisors as more supportive. The predictor variables of
schedule control (
¼0:17, p,0:01) and schedule satisfaction (
were each signiﬁcantly related to supervisory support while controlling for
supervisor’s gender and racial/ethnic similarity. Thus, there was support for this
Work schedule control and satisfaction in relation to WIF, FIW, and W-FS
WIF, FIW, and W-FS were regressed on work schedule control and then on work
schedule satisfaction in two separate equations (Tables V-VI) controlling for
employees’ gender and having a child less than six in the household. Work schedule
Source of variation SS df MS F
WIF 0.32 1 0.32 0.41
FIW 2.01 1 2.01 4.42*
W-FS 0.22 1 0.22 0.38
Child LT six years
WIF 7.68 1 7.68 10.03 **
FIW 5.12 1 5.12 11.04 **
W-FS 0.05 1 0.05 0.08
WIF 12.63 6 2.11 2.75 *
FIW 2.69 6 0.45 0.97
W-FS 13.57 6 2.26 3.87 **
WIF 2,045.44 2,674 0.76
FIW 1,239.51 2,674 0.46
W-FS 1,561.88 2,674 0.58
WIF 18,906.08 2,683
FIW 12,983.56 2,683
W-FS 25,435.50 2,683
Notes: WIF ¼(work interfering with family); FIW ¼(family interfering with work); and
W-FS ¼(work-family synergy); *p,0.05; **
MANOVA results for
work schedule and WIF,
FIW, and W-F Synergy
control was signiﬁcantly related to WIF (
¼20:21, p,0:01)and W-FS (
p,0:01) but not to FIW (
¼0:04, ns). Similarly, satisfaction with work schedule was
signiﬁcantly related to WIF (
¼20:28, p,0:01) and W-FS (
¼0:12, p,0:01) but
not to FIW. Note that the betas, while statistically signiﬁcant, are low in magnitude.
Nevertheless, the ﬁndings do support the research question.
Work schedule at main job Mean SD NSigniﬁcance
1. Regular daytime 2.48 0.85 2,037 1v2, 1v3, 1v7
2. Regular evening 2.47 0.89 121 2v7
3. Regular night shift 2.72 1.05 73
4. Rotating shift 2.63 0.98 191 4v1
5. Split shift 2.67 1.06 38
6. Flex or variable 2.53 0.91 189
7. Other schedule 2.84 0.81 34
1. Regular daytime 2.09 0.67 2,037 ns
2. Regular evening 1.99 0.75 121
3. Regular night shift 2.17 0.74 73
4. Rotating shift 2.14 0.76 191
5. Split shift 2.09 0.70 38
6. Flex or variable 2.05 0.67 189
7. Other schedule 2.21 0.75 34
1. Regular daytime 3.00 0.74 2,037 1v2, 1v3
2. Regular evening 2.75 0.80 121 2v6
3. Regular night shift 2.75 0.90 73 3v6
4. Rotating shift 2.93 0.82 191
5. Split shift 3.00 0.89 38
6. Flex or variable 3.07 0.82 189 6v4
7. Other schedule 2.88 0.71 34
Notes: WIF ¼(work interfering with family); FIW ¼(family interfering with work); and
W-FS ¼(work-family synergy); Means are signiﬁcantly different at p,0.05
deviations, Ns, and
pair-wise comparisons for
work schedules in
relation to work-family
conﬂict and synergy
Model 1 Model 2
Gender of supervisor 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.04 0.02 0.03
Supervisor similarity 20.07 0.03 20.05 20.08 0.03 20.05
Schedule control 0.07 0.01 0.17*
Schedule satisfaction 0.21 0.02 0.21*
Ffor change in R
0.03 124.19 *
Notes: Supervisor similarity indicates that supervisor is of same racial/ethnic background as
Summary of hierarchical
Moderating effects of work schedule: work-family variables and satisfaction
The moderating effects of work schedule on work-family conﬂict (WIF and FIW) and
work-family synergy (W-FS) and domain satisfaction were tested using multiple
regressions (research question 4). The work schedules were grouped as follows: day
(traditional schedule); evening/night; rotating/split shifts; and ﬂex/variable shifts. A
similar breakdown was used by Fenwick and Tausig (2001). Regressions were
computed for each work schedule, as noted, computing the relationship between WIF,
FIW, and W-FS and each of the domain satisfaction variables (i.e. job, life, marital, and
family satisfaction) variables. Table VII shows the results of these analyses.
The work-family literature typically reveals that work-family conﬂict is inversely
related to satisfaction variables (e.g. Allen et al., 2000) while work-family synergy is
positively related to domain satisfaction (Beutell, 2006). Examination of Table VII
reveals that the day (traditional) schedule produced the strongest moderator results
overall. The WIF !job satisfaction relationship was signiﬁcantly and negatively
related for all work schedules while WIF !life satisfaction relationship was
signiﬁcant for all schedules except the ﬂex/variable schedule. The strongest ﬁndings
for FIW and satisfaction involved the day (traditional) schedule (except, interestingly,
job satisfaction). The rotating/split shift showed a moderate, negative relationship
between FIW and family satisfaction. And, for W-FS !job satisfaction relationship
Model 1 Model 2
Gender 0.05 0.06 0.01 0.03 0.06 0.01
Child LT six years 20.02 0.08 20.00 20.06 0.08 20.01
WIF 20.38 0.04 20.21 *
FIW 0.09 0.05 0.04
W-FS 0.19 0.04 0.09*
Ffor change in R
0.75 46.35 *
Notes: WIF ¼(work interfering with family); FIW ¼(family interfering with work); and
W-FS ¼(work-family synergy); *p,0.01
Summary of hierarchical
Model 1 Model 2
Gender 0.05 0.03 0.04 *0.05 0.02 0.04
Child LT six years 0.06 0.03 0.04 *0.03 0.03 0.02
WIF 20.20 0.02 20.28 **
FIW 20.01 0.02 20.01
W-FS 0.10 0.01 0.12 **
Ffor Change in R
4.39 *103.10 **
Notes: WIF ¼(work interfering with family); FIW ¼(family interfering with work); and
W-FS ¼(work-family synergy); *p,0.05; **
Summary of hierarchical
WIF FIW W-FS
JS LS MS FS R
JS LS MS FS R
JS LS MS FS R
(traditional) 20.28 ** 20.17 ** 0.02 20.10 0.17 ** 20.01 20.18 ** 20.06 *220 ** 0.15 ** 0.14 ** 0.13 ** 0.05 0.13 ** 0.11 ***
Evening/Night 20.29 ** 20.25 *20.27 ** 20.11 0.41 *** 20.03 20.20 20.19 20.20 0.24 *** 0.13 0.09 20.18 0.23 0.12
Rotating/Split 20.31 ** 20.25 *0.27 ** 20.42 ** 0.35 *** 20.03 20.13 0.03 20.34 ** 0.17 *** 0.22 *0.10 0.03 0.02 0.10 *
Flex/Variable 20.30 ** 20.20 20.04 20.01 0.25 *** 0.04 20.04 0.02 20.19 0.06 0.43 ** 20.04 0.12 0.10 0.25 ***
Notes: Standardized regression coefﬁcients (b) are presented; WIF ¼(work interfering with family); FIW ¼(family interfering with work); and W-FS ¼(work-family
synergy); JS ¼( job satisfaction); LS ¼(life satisfaction); MS ¼(marital satisfaction); and FS ¼(family satisfaction); All
s controlled for covariates of gender and presence of
a child under the age of six years; *p,0.05; **
Moderating effects of
work schedule on the
WIF, FIW, and W-FS and
was signiﬁcant for all schedules except the evening/night schedule. All of the
signiﬁcant ﬁndings were in the expected direction.
The present results add to the work-family literature by ﬁnding some level of support
for each of the four research questions adding to the accumulating evidence on
relationships between work schedules, work schedule control and satisfaction,
supervisory support, and moderating effects of work schedule on the relationship
between work-family conﬂict (synergy) and satisfaction. Taken as a whole, the results
do suggest that solutions like increased schedule ﬂexibility for all workers may not be
efﬁcacious in reducing work-family conﬂict and increasing work-family synergy.
Employee control over work schedule, employee satisfaction with work schedule, and
supervisor support need to be considered as well. And, the ﬁndings on work-family
synergy are noteworthy since very little research has been conducted on work
schedules and synergy. The results are bolstered by the fact that a well-conducted
national probability sample was analyzed and can be generalized to the US population
residing in the contiguous 48 states.
Contributions of research
The ﬁrst research question, addressing differences in work-family conﬂict and
synergy, based on respondent’s work schedule was supported for WIF and W-FS.
Some schedules have the effect of increasing conﬂict (e.g. night and rotating shifts)
while others seem to reduce levels of work-family synergy (e.g. evening and night).
Interestingly, a ﬂexible or variable schedule did have the highest mean for W-FS and
was signiﬁcantly higher that the mean for the night shift. Flex scheduling does have
the potential to increase synergy but we need to know more about employee schedule
control and supervisor support, at a minimum, before we know what the impact of
such a schedule might be.
Supervisor support was signiﬁcantly related to schedule control and schedule
satisfaction. The role of the supervisor clearly warrants additional attention regarding
work schedules along with schedule control and satisfaction, but more broadly, as the
organizational face of all types of support including support for participating in
work-family program initiatives (Swody and Powell, 2007). Other characteristics of the
supervisor might prove to be important as well. A recent study suggested that
supervisors provide more family support to subordinates who were similar in either
gender or race than to those subordinates who were dissimilar (Foley et al., 2006). The
present ﬁndings found some evidence for the impact of racial/ethnic similarity but not
for gender. This clearly warrants additional investigation. Further, and importantly,
Wang and Walumbwa (2007) have documented the moderating effect of
transformational leadership in the relationships between work ﬂexibility beneﬁts
and both organizational commitment and work withdrawal.
Another aspect of the supervisor equation is generational differences particularly
relating to Generation X (GenX) and work-family issues (e.g. Beutell and Wittig-Berman,
2008). Van Dyne et al. (2007) suggest that ﬂexible work arrangements, that give
employees more control over when and where they work (such as part-time, ﬂextime,
and ﬂexplace), have served to reduce “face” time in organizations. Such arrangements,
particularly using technology, appeal to GenX employees but may lead Baby Boom
managers to make attributions like “slacker” and question the loyalty of GenX workers
(O’Bannon, 2001). Van Dyne et al. (2007) have proposed a theoretical model specifying
facilitating work practices that enhance group processes and effectiveness with the goal
of enhancing group-level, organizational citizenship behaviors. Other investigators have
suggested supervisors should be evaluated, as part of the performance appraisal process,
on their knowledge and effectiveness in assisting employees in reducing work-family
issues (Beauregard, 2006).
The ﬁndings also lend support to the moderating effects of work schedule on the
relationship between work-family variables and satisfaction outcomes. This ﬁnding
supports Haar’s (2008) contention that work schedule is an overlooked moderator of
work-family conﬂict and satisfaction. Interestingly, the strongest evidence for the
moderator ﬁndings involved WIF-job satisfaction and W-FS-job satisfaction
relationships. It does make sense that a work-related variable such as work schedule
would be related to job satisfaction. And, given what we know about cross-domain
relationships (Ford et al., 2007) it might also be expected that work-family conﬂict
(synergy) and life satisfaction would be signiﬁcantly related as well. The present
ﬁndings do conﬁrm a WIF-life satisfaction relationship for three of the four schedules.
Yet, only 18 of 48 betas overall achieved statistical signiﬁcance suggesting a rather
complex pattern of moderating effects that will need much more research. And, 13 of the
signiﬁcant moderator ﬁndings center on WIF and W-FS with FIW ﬁndings essentially
conﬁned to traditional, day work schedules. This conﬁrms Shockley and Allen’s (2007)
argument that ﬂexible work arrangements are more highly related to WIF than to FIW.
Implications for theory and practice
The JD-R and conservation of resources models seem well-suited to the variables
examined in this study. The notion of work schedules as a major work demand is
well-established although we still have much to learn about the resources needed to
cope with these demands and the long-term consequences of different schedules on
employee health, well-being, and quality of life. These models also appear to be equally
well suited to studying family role demands and resources. Indeed, recent work by
Lazarova et al. (2010) have used JD-R to examine the positive side of the work-family
interface by examining inﬂuences on expatriate work and family role performance.
One of the theoretical challenges is identifying the impact of simultaneous and
sequential demands and resources relating to work and family as individuals and
families attempt to achieve balance in their lives.
The present study extended one aspect of the JD-R model – the investigation of
interaction effects suggested by Bakker and Demerouti (2007). These authors indicated
reluctance on the part of researchers to venture beyond main or direct effects, perhaps,
because of the difﬁculty of detecting interaction effects. Nevertheless, interaction
effects are theoretically important since the effects on employees may be more
exaggerated when demands and resources are at high levels. The present study
examined work schedules as a moderator of the relation between work-family conﬂict
(synergy) and satisfaction. This suggests that the JD-R model can incorporate
interactions, not only in the stress-strain sequence (Kahn and Byosserie, 1992), but in
the strain-well-being sequence as well.
Although implementing ﬂexible work schedules is often suggested as a practical
intervention to balance work and family, the present ﬁndings suggest a more complex
scenario. Haar (2008), for example, found ﬂextime use did not reduce the negative
relationship between job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Haar even
suggested that ﬂextime might not be “inherently” positive and such schedules might
be used reactively (causing employee resentment) rather than proactively. This
suggests that management imposed work schedules may undermine employee
commitment, increase work-family conﬂict, particularly WIF, and decrease
work-family synergy. In this vein, Kelly and Moen (2007) have distinguished
between perceived schedule control and enacted schedule control as well as ﬂexibility
policies and ﬂexibility practices in organizations. The true impact of work schedules
may depend on organizational size, supervisor support, type of work performed, and
the degree of formalization of work policies. Thus, the conceptual model proposed by
Kelly and Moen (2007) appears to be useful for framing subsequent studies and
designing organizational interventions.
Some limitations of the present research should be noted. Although the data came from
a well-conducted national probability sample, all of the measures were self-reports
collected during one interview. Such self-report, cross-sectional designs tend to inﬂate
correlations and they lack the ability to make causal inferences, including the direction
of possible causality. Also, cross-sectional designs based on self-report measures do
not afford the ability to rule out the fact that measured constructs share a common
cause. Thus, a portion of the variance in any observed relation is likely to be spurious.
Future research on the impact of employee work schedules might consider measuring
the same individuals over time to permit analysis of changes with increased statistical
power. Some of the ﬁndings, while statistically signiﬁcant, do not account for much
variance. Finally, a number of the study variables (e.g. work schedule, work schedule
control) were based on one-item scales.
Nevertheless, the ﬁndings of the present study do add to the accumulating evidence of
the impact of work schedules as a major work-related demand variable affecting
work-family conﬂict and synergy. The JD-R and conservation of resources models
appear to be useful in framing research hypotheses involving work (family) demands
and resources involving social support, role performance, heath consequences,
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About the author
Nicholas J. Beutell is a Professor of Management at Hagan School of Business, Iona College, USA.
He received his PhD in management with a concentration in Human Resource Management from
Stevens Institute of Technology. His major research interests include the work-family interface,
career management, and international and web-based human resource management. His
research has appeared in the Academy of Management Review,International Journal of
Management,Journal of Applied Psychology,Journal of Managerial Psychology,Journal of Small
Business and Entrepreneurship,Journal of Vocational Behavior, among others. Dr Beutell is a
Fellow of the Eastern Academy of Management and is a member of the Academy of
Management and SHRM. Nicholas J. Beutell can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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