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The Case for Family-Friendly Work Practices in the Australian Construction Industry



Although significant changes at the social, demographic, technological and workforce levelshave transformed the relationship between family and work, these changes have notbeen reflected in the employment practices of many construction companies. Many of thejob and organisational factors found to be negatively associated with family functioning arepertinent to construction professionals. Staff are expected to work long hours in demandingroles and this, combined with job insecurity and frequent relocation, means that familylife and individual well-being can be compromised. A growing body of research has foundthat the implementation of family-friendly work policies and practices can lead to greaterproductivity, lower attrition rates and higher morale in the workplace. In addition providinga work environment that is supportive of workers' family roles can help to alleviate workrelatedmental health problems.This paper outlines the changing demographic trends and societal attitudes that are makingindividuals and organisations question current work cultures and structures. Optionsfor making the construction industry a more family-friendly work environment are considered.All professionals, regardless of their age, gender and family responsibilities, canbenefit from these initiatives. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of theseissues for construction companies and future research work.
Valerie Francis and Helen Lingard
Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, The University of Melbourne
Kanter (1977) suggests that the fate of both
men and women is inextricably bound up
with workplace structures and processes.
The construction industry provides a hard
and demanding work environment. Compa-
nies operate in a highly competitive market
with relatively low profit levels and pressure
to complete construction projects within tight
dead lines. With the threat of significant pen-
alties for time overruns, professionals and
managers need to ensure their availability
while work on site continues. Thus, work
hours are often long and sometimes irregu-
lar. Research suggests that participation in
work, reflected in work hours, is negatively
related to family participation and positively
related to divorce rate (Aldous et al
Irregularity of work hours has also been
identified as the most important variable
affecting low marital quality among shift
workers (White and Keith, 1990).
Construction industry professionals are also
responsible for the delivery of projects that
could cost lives or their company's reputa-
tion should the requisite quality, planned
budget or specified completion date not be
met. Negative work experiences, such as
stress, are associated with marital and fam-
ily dysfunction (Barling, 1990). Each project
poses unique challenges and may involve
the use of new construction techniques and
methods. Continuity of employment is de-
pendent upon successful tendering for new
projects in a highly competitive environ-
ment. In this context, employees may feel
concerned about their long-term job secu-
rity or may be required to relocate fre-
quently in order to remain in employment.
Previous research has found job insecurity
to be negatively related to marital and family
functioning (Larson et al
, 1994) and fre-
quent relocation is likely to place pressures
on the increasing number of dual-career
couples (Kamerman and Kahn, 1981).
Research evidence suggests that employ-
ees’ work experiences can have a detrimen-
tal effect on aspects of their family life,
including parenting behaviour (Grimm-
Thomas and Perry-Jenkins, 1994), perceived
conflict between work and family (O’Neil and
Greenberger, 1994) and marital quality
(Hughes et al
1992). There is growing evi-
dence that having a supportive close rela-
tionship is positively associated with life
expectancy and negatively correlated with
experience of psychological distress
(Cramer, 1998).
Many employees today are finding it in-
creasingly difficult to balance family and
work commitments, particularly when long
hours and unresponsive organisations are
involved. Managers may feel that balancing
family and work should be a private matter
for the individual employee. However, fami-
lies are a fundamental part of society, and
traditional management theory, which pre-
supposes a lifestyle which segregates family
and work spheres, is being challenged in
many industries and by legislation. Societal
attitudes and work values are changing. We
now have higher expectations of family rela-
tionships and parenting.
For organisations to succeed they need to
be cognisant of the needs of workers with
family responsibilities. They will be com-
pelled to from two standpoints. Firstly, by
changes in legislation, which stem from a
social justice base, and secondly, from an
organisational effectiveness perspective.
This paper explores changing demographic
trends and societal attitudes and discusses
issues occurring at the work/family inter-
face. Some suggestions as to how the con-
struction industry could begin to tackle
these issues are provided and the paper
concludes that construction companies
need to change in order to recruit and retain
an effective and motivated work force in the
One major reason for the need for change is
that the nature of the Australian workforce
is changing in several ways.
Increased number of women
in the workforce
Over the past 30 years the employment par-
ticipation rates of men and women in Aus-
tralia have converged (ABS, 1997 and 1994).
The extent of this trend is indicated in Table
1. This convergence has substantially
changed the profile of the Australian work-
force, with many more employees now ful-
filling family responsibilities in addition to
working. In Australia, at present, in 59% of
two-parent families, both parents are in
paid employment (ABS, 1998). There has
also been an increase in the number of lone
parents in the workforce. In 1999, 47% of all
female lone parents and 63.1% of all male
lone parents were in the paid workforce
(ABS, 2000a).
Family responsibilities influence an individ-
ual's participation in the work force and the
employment participation rate of women
increases dramatically when the youngest
child reaches school age (Glezer and Wol-
cott, 2000). However, many young married
women, who may be considered in the child
bearing and early child rearing age group
are also now in employment. For example,
employment among women in the 25 to 34
years of age group has risen from 30% in
1960 to 66% and is predicted to rise to 79%
in 2011 (ABS, 1994, 1995 and 1998). Many
mothers work part-time in order to better
manage work/home issues, particularly
when children are young, however, mothers
are found to work less overtime than their
male counterparts, reflecting their prefer-
ence for part-time work. Half of all fathers
and one third of all mothers, however, regu-
larly work overtime (Glezer and Wolcott, 2000).
Women are also more available for em-
ployment due to declining birth rates, which
currently averages 1.75 (ABS, 2000b).
Professional women tend to have fewer chil-
dren than non-professional women with an
average of 1.6 and also bear children at an
older age. The average age of the mother at
the birth of their first child is 30.6 years for
professionals and 27.6 years for all mothers
(various sources cited in Bourke, 2000). Pro-
fessional women also return to work more
quickly after the birth of their first child than
non-professional women. It is possible that
professional couples may be forgoing or
delaying child bearing in order to pursue
fulfilling careers (Bourke, 2000).
Increase in the number of aged
The recent change from institutional aged
care to home and community-based care
means that responsibility for caring for eld-
erly relatives now rests with family mem-
bers. With Australia’s aging population and
increasing life expectancy, the number of
workers with elder care responsibilities is
likely to rise. In fact it is predicted that be-
tween 1996 and 2041 the aged dependency
ratio will double from 18.1 to 34.8. This
means that for every 100 workers there will
be 34 aged dependents (Gorey et al
, 1992).
Currently 70% of all providers of personal
care and home help for the aged, terminally
ill or disabled persons are also in the work
force (ABS, 1994). This may be partly due to
the fact that the employment rate of older
women has increased due to increased at-
tachment to work and for financial reasons.
Furthermore, together with the trend to-
wards delayed child-bearing and the in-
creasing employment rate among older
women, the aging population is likely to re-
duce the availability of grandparents to pro-
vide informal childcare.
Table 1: Employment participation rates of men and women in Australia
1966 1998
Men's overall employment participation rate 84% 73%
Women's overall employment participation rate 36% 54%
Meeting family responsibilities
These demographic changes pose chal-
lenges for individuals who must now bal-
ance their responsibilities as employees
with those of parents or carers. Perhaps
unsurprisingly, a recent report prepared by
the ABS found that in dual income couples
70% of all mothers and 56% of all fathers
reported that they always/often felt rushed
or pressed for time. Only 25.2% of couples
without children reportedly experienced this
feeling with the same frequency (ABS,
The changing workforce has also forced
some changes to work practices to accom-
modate those with family responsibilities,
most notably by taking time off work. It has
been reported that, during 1998, 58% of peo-
ple with dependent care responsibilities
took time off to meet family responsibilities.
The average duration of this absence was
9.4 days in a 12 month period (Glezer and
Wolcott, 2000). Furthermore, it appears that
both men and women take time off work for
this purpose. For example, a recent Tasma-
nian study found that 13% of all employees
reported taking time off in the previous
three months to care for another person,
75% of which related to the care of a sick
child. Of these, 43% were men and 57%
were women (ABS, 1999b).
Changing attitudes about the men’s and
women’s roles
The roles and expectations of women and
men have changed significantly over the
past 50 years. One consequence has been a
shift in the importance of work relative to
family and leisure. More women than ever
before are in the workforce, reflecting rising
educational levels, changing societal atti-
tudes and declining birth rates. Whilst we
have seen wide acceptance that childless
couples both work, attitudinal and institu-
tional barriers to women’s employment re-
surface upon child bearing (Bourke, 2000).
There has been an increase in divorced,
blended, defacto and single parent families
which has changed the way we view family
as well as the work structures that have
developed from the assumption of a tradi-
tional nuclear family.
Although women now reach similar educa-
tion levels to men and nearly equal men in
employment participation they are still
found in more supportive lower paid roles
(Squirchuk and Bourke, 2000). The percent-
age of women managers is rising. Yet, in
spite of this, few workplaces have developed
adequate strategies to accommodate part-
time managers with family responsibilities
(Squirchuk and Bourke, 2000).
Whilst mothers have traditionally spent
more time with children than fathers, their
increasing participation in the workforce
means the time they spend is decreasing.
Although fathers are not spending any more
time on family, child activities or domestic
duties they are spending more time alone
with their children.
While working women still do more domes-
tic work than men (Demo and Acock
a coping strategy for mothers appears to be
to do less domestic work than in the past,
work part-time, have fewer children and
bear these children later in life. Managing
work and family responsibilities can there-
fore be very difficult for mothers in dual in-
come families and for lone mothers. The
trend to delay child bearing means that an
increasing proportion of couples will face
the additional responsibility of dependent
children and care of elderly parents either
simultaneously or sequentially.
Although very few studies have looked at the
effect of paternal employment demands on
children it would appear that work hours
and job stress have an indirect effect by in-
creasing the parenting burden on the
mother and decreasing the perception of
fathers in a nurturing role. However, there
has been a substantial shift in the expecta-
tion of fathers’ involvement in parenting. An
unpublished study by Russell (reported in
Russell and Bowman, 2000) showed that
fathers now spend more time with and are
closer to their children than they were 15
years ago. However, 68% of fathers said they
did not spend enough time with their chil-
dren and 53% felt that job and family inter-
fered with each other. Interestingly, 57% of
fathers identified work-related barriers,
such as expectations of longer hours and
inflexibility, as being the critical factor pre-
venting them from being the kind of father
they would like to be.
With the increasing acceptance of gender
equity among the current and future
generations, family is being seen more as a
joint responsibility. A survey of men under
35 with young children who also have part-
ners in the work force, reported that they
were feeling more stress and were keen to
change the corporate world to enable them
to better balance work/life issues (Russell
and Bowman, 2000). In another still to be
published survey by Russell (also reported
in Russell and Bowman, 2000), 63% of young
men said they would refuse a job or promo-
tion that had a negative impact on their fam-
ily or their partner’s career or they would
refuse to transfer for the same reason. A US
study of older teenagers found that 80% had
mothers who work and 86% had fathers who
work and 79% said they want a job that al-
lows for personal and family activities (Fam-
ily and Work Institute, 2000). It is
increasingly likely that organisations will
need to address these changing expecta-
tions in order to attract good graduates and
retain a motivated work force.
Traditional management theories and prac-
tices presuppose a lifestyle that segregates
family and work spheres. Dual income cou-
ples, whether as spouses or parents, par-
ticipate in many roles simultaneously.
Managers may live with family responsibili-
ties themselves, yet are taught that suc-
cessful managers must remain detached
and rational, not concerning themselves
with the family concerns of employees. For
example, widely accepted theories of moti-
vation focus on employees' individualistic
needs for self-actualisation, achievement
and power with scant regard for employees’
needs outside the workplace (Bruce and
1994). This approach was largely
predicated on the view that the workforce is
homogeneous, comprising males of Euro-
pean ancestry married to full time home-
makers, who would take on the sole
responsibility for child-care and domestic
duties. In most developed countries this
presumption no longer holds true (Popenoe
1993), as the demographic characteristics
reported earlier in this paper suggest.
In many industries the male-centred atti-
tudes that structure the work place are be-
ing challenged and it is women employees
that are driving the changes (Bourke, 2000).
However as women are still highly under-
represented in the traditionally male-
dominated construction industry this has
prohibited any widespread reforms. Atti-
tudes still exist that promote the image of
the ‘ideal’ worker as a person who is able
and willing to put work first, within an ever-
expanding time-frame. Male middle manag-
ers who exercise control over many of the
human resources management issues at a
project level have demanded that women
comply with male-oriented work practices
(Dainty et al
, 2000). Within this context,
women are forced to adopt career-focused
life-styles or forego professional success.
However, companies should take heed of
legal precedent set in
Hickie v Hunt and
where it was found that the termina-
tion of a legal partner’s contract on the ba-
sis of her part-time work status amounted
to indirect sex discrimination (Bourke,
2000). The case is critical to professional
women as it declares a new stage in equity –
that is the accommodation of difference –
without disadvantage.
However, it is not just women whose altered
requirements must be met. The increasing
numbers of dual income couples mean that
men and women now share, to some de-
gree, parenting and family responsibilities.
Traditional management practices fail to
recognise this diversity - for example, man-
agement activities, such as staff allocation,
that have little regard for employees’ per-
sonal needs. Changes in workforce charac-
teristics require a shift in management
approach to re-examine the values, roles
and stereotypes and to meet the increasing
expectation that a balance between work
and family life be achieved. Peter Senge
writes, "the artificial boundary between
work and family is anathema to systems
thinking" (MacGregor
1999). The two must
be seen as interactive in that what is positive
or negative in one affects the other.
In order to achieve greater equity and diver-
sity, there is a need to challenge career
structures and work practices that favour
full time workers with minimal family re-
sponsibilities. However, this cultural change
will not come easily in the construction in-
dustry. Indeed, it has been noted that, how-
ever accepting of change they may be at the
start of their career, male entrants to the
construction industry inadvertently reinforce
current attitudes and practices by emulating
the behaviour of the managers who influ-
enced their own career development (Dainty
et al
, 2000). Given the strength of the influ-
ences that perpetuate the status quo at
middle management level, it is likely that
the adoption of the non-traditional
management approaches that are required
to accommodate the needs of the workforce
in the 21st century will have to be driven
from the top down.
Arguments for providing a workplace that is
supportive of workers' family lives are nu-
merous but can be broken down into two
main categories relating to legal require-
ments and organisational performance.
Legal requirements
Laws now exist at the federal level and in
most Australian states and territories that
impose requirements on employers in re-
spect of the family responsibilities of em-
ployees. Such laws fall under the categories
of industrial relations laws, anti-
discrimination laws and affirmative action
laws and were stimulated by domestic and
international trends (Squirchuk and Bourke,
2000). They present compelling reasons for
organisations to address the concerns of
employees with family responsibilities.
In 1979, Australia adopted the Convention on
the elimination of all forms of discrimination
against women and, in 1990, ratified ILO
Convention 156, dealing with workers with
family responsibilities. Both conventions
have resulted in legislative reforms. The
Discrimination Act
(1984) and its amend-
ment in 1994 prohibit dismissal on the basis
of family responsibility. In the past decade
Australian organisations have moved from
centralised wage fixing to a system of en-
terprise bargaining. It is possible that this
has resulted in greater disparity between
workplaces, with some employees of lead-
ing organisations achieving better condi-
tions to help balance their work and family
commitments. It would appear that Austra-
lian policy and practice does lag behind that
of other OECD countries. This is evidenced
by the fact Australia is one of the only two
OECD countries that does not have paid ma-
ternity leave (Sex Discrimination Unit, 2002).
Unfortunately the reality is that even when
work-family provisions exist they are often
grossly under-utilised as the benefits are
not accepted as part of the workplace cul-
ture (Lewis, 2001). While the female em-
ployees are “allowed” to use such provisions
for family reasons, they are often then dis-
advantaged in their professional careers
(APESMA, 1994). Furthermore, it is often
considered unacceptable for male employ-
ees to use such provisions and doing so may
result in them suffering severe career
Organisational performance
Both men and women have been found to
experience home-to-work 'spillover' effects,
whereby subjective experiences in one con-
text impact upon performance in the other
arena (Barnett
1994; Eckenrode and Gore
1990). The impact of home events on behav-
iour in the workplace has implications for
organisational performance. Research sug-
gests that the implementation of family-
friendly work policies and practices leads to
enhanced organisational efficiency, morale,
productivity and company citizenship and
lower absenteeism and staff turnover (Cass
1993; Butruille, 1990; Fernandez, 1986; Ba-
den and Friedman, 1981). Research sug-
gests that the quality of family and marital
life moderates the impact of job role quality
on psychological distress (Barnett et al
1992). Thus, workers with positive subjective
experiences of family and marital life are
less likely to suffer mental health problems
as a result of work-related stress. Providing
a work environment that is supportive of work-
ers' family roles can therefore help to alleviate
work-related mental health problems.
Dual-income couples are increasing in
number (Paden and Buehler, 1995) and fam-
ily-friendly work practices are increasingly
valued and used by men as well as women
(Pleck, 1993; Butruille, 1990; Fernandez,
1986; Burke, 2000). Furthermore, male
managers who report working in an organi-
zation that allows them to achieve a satis-
factory work/family balance also report
experiencing less job stress, a greater joy in
work, a lower intention to quit, enhanced
career and life satisfaction, fewer psycho-
somatic symptoms and more positive emo-
tional and physical well-being (Burke, 2000).
Employers should also recognise the ex-
penses of training staff in the workplace to
the point where they are sufficiently produc-
tive to generate income — US estimates
suggest that, after 10 years of service, an
employer will have invested a minimum of
$US600, 000, in terms of salary, benefits,
recruitment and training costs, for an em-
ployed engineer (Maskell-Pretz, 1997). Em-
ployers who recognise the needs of their
employees are more likely to retain staff
and retention is likely to yield extensive cost
benefits to an organisation.
Women are under-represented among con-
struction industry professionals (Court and
Moralee, 1995; Agapiou et al
, 1995; Dainty
et al
, 2000). Increasing the numbers of pro-
fessional women in the construction indus-
try is consistent with policies on equal
opportunity but is also recognised to be an
important facilitating factor in changing the
construction industry's traditional adversar-
ial culture (Court and Moralee, 1995). In ad-
dition, proponents of diversification argue it
leads to a more responsive organization
(Dainty, 2000) Furthermore, there is evi-
dence that the construction industry will
need to recruit more women if its future
labour demands are to be met (Agapiou et
, 1995). Research suggests that, regard-
less of employment status, women perform
two to three times more household work
than their partners (Demo and Acock, 1993).
Therefore it is likely that women will be
more likely to remain in employment that is
supportive of their family responsibilities.
There are many ways companies can assist
employees with family responsibilities.
Some of the options are presented below.
The needs of individual employees will differ
and change over time. It is therefore impor-
tant that companies examine the needs of
their employees and ensure that policies
address these needs. Consultation with em-
ployees through surveys, focus groups,
newsletters, notices or workshops is rec-
ommended. Furthermore, implementing
such policies is often not enough. An organ-
isational culture needs to be fostered within
which family-supportive policies are under-
stood to be a right instead of a benefit. Em-
ployees must feel comfortable about
utilising these options without being
branded as being lacking in commitment to
their work.
Child care
Australian companies' provision of child
care surpasses that available in most other
OECD countries (Cass, 1993) but company
sponsored child care is still rarely available
to construction industry employees. While it
may be difficult to provide on-site child care
centres due to the limited space and tempo-
rary nature of construction work, other
options for child care provision which con-
struction companies may be able to provide
include employer contributions towards
employees' child care fees. Provision of as-
sistance for care of children outside school
hours, during school holidays and when they
are sick should also be considered.
Elder care
An ageing population will have a serious
impact on the workplace. Filial obligations
may actually come to eclipse child care ob-
ligations in the number of employees af-
fected. If elder care is a need then support
in the form of special family leave or an
information and referral service may be
Flexible work practices
Flexible work arrangements are one of the
most frequently used ways to assist em-
ployees with family responsibilities (Fernan-
dez, 1986). Flexible work arrangements
cover a range of practices including flexible
work hours, job sharing or working from
home or telecommuting. While there will
always be the need to have supervisory per-
sonnel on site, advances in the capabilities
and use of information technology mean
that working remotely is now feasible for
many professionals.
Permanent part-time work
Part-time work can assist employees in
maintaining a balance between work and
family. Squirchuk and Bourke (2000) note
that AMP consider their flexible work prac-
tices and part-time work options to have
greatly increased their employee retention
rate after maternity leave and reduced their
overall staff turnover. From a company's
point of view part-time work can provide
flexibility to cater for peak periods (Napoli,
1994). This flexibility may help construction
organizations to cope with the cyclical na-
ture of construction demand. Permanent
part-time work differs from casual work in
that employees have a "permanent" con-
tract of employment with the company and
retain benefits such as annual leave, sick
leave, parental and long service leave. How-
ever, it is important part-time workers are
valued, not marginalised, and that they enjoy
access to identified career paths.
Parental leave
Parental leave allows employees with a new
child, either natural or adopted, to care for
their child at home on a full time basis in the
child's first year and still retain employment
and accrue entitlements. In Australia, the
Workplace Relations Act
of 1996, the pri-
mary legislative instrument at the federal
level which regulates employee entitle-
ments, provides employees with the oppor-
tunity to take 52 weeks of unpaid combined
paternity and maternity leave, where an em-
ployee has had 12 months' continuous ser-
vice with the same employer. However,
Australia and the United States are the only
two OECD countries that do not provide paid
maternity leave (Sex Discrimination Unit,
2002). The provision of at least twelve
weeks paid maternity leave is typically only
available in public sector jobs (Cass, 1993).
Some private sector firms attempting to re-
cruit and retain female employees are re-
ported to offer between six and twelve
weeks paid maternity leave and a lesser
amount of paid paternity leave (ILO, 2001).
Construction firms serious about attracting
and retaining staff may consider the provi-
sion of paid parental leave or offering part-
time work to their male and female employees.
Other initiatives
Companies that actively seek to support
employees with family responsibilities do
not limit themselves to meeting employees'
immediate needs for child care and leave.
Other initiatives intended to elicit commit-
ment and loyalty from employees include,
but are not limited to:
z salary packaging of child care costs,
school fees or elder care costs to provide a
tax benefit to employees
z family related phone calls to enable em-
ployees to check on children or elderly rela-
z employee assistance programmes offer-
ing counselling for employees with personal
or family difficulties.
Construction firms should identify their em-
ployees' priorities and be creative in formu-
lating ways to respond to employees' work
and family situations. This is likely to result
in a committed, motivated and satisfied
The relationship between family life and
work has dramatically altered over the past
sixty years, however, these changes have
not been reflected in the work patterns of
professionals in the construction industry. In
this context, the construction industry must
be careful that its professionals do not leave
to pursue careers in alternative industries
that provide greater benefits and more ap-
peal. The availability and perceived quality of
employment alternatives is recognised to be
a key factor in job commitment and turn-
over. Already construction is dropping in
career appeal, and shortage of skills has
been highlighted as an issue (Agapiou et al
1995). In the 1999 edition of the
Jobs Rated
, civil engineering fell from 18th to
70th position in expressed job preference
and 14 construction trades were rated in the
bottom ranks. Construction, above all, is a
people industry and managing its human
resources should be paramount if it is to
remain competitive.
Alternative working patterns, such as job
sharing, flexible working hours and part-
time work have proved successful in other
professions, both in Australia and overseas.
These initiatives could benefit many con-
struction professionals as well. Not only
those employees with family responsibili-
ties, but also those who do not wish to work
full-time, for example, as a ‘lead into’ re-
tirement, would benefit. The advantages to
employers are likely to be seen in terms of
higher productivity, increased retention
rates and enhanced morale. However, the
provision of benefits delivered through
work-life human resources policies is not
sufficient in itself. A workplace culture must
exist within which employees feel comfort-
able taking advantage of alternative work
options. In order to achieve such a culture,
change must be driven from the top down
and sensitivity training for middle managers
and supervisors may also be required.
The authors are currently undertaking re-
search work to develop a better understand-
ing of the extent to which tension exists
between work and family demands among
white-collar construction industry workers.
The study will enhance our understanding of
the value of implementing work-family and
work-life employment practices in this envi-
ronment and also formulate recommenda-
tions to help the construction industry
to meet the expectations of professional
Agapiou, A., Price, A. and McCaffer, R. (1995)
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... Employee conflict between their role in the family and role in work is termed work-family conflict. Many employees find it difficult to balance their role in family and work, especially during long working hours and in elaborate organisations (Lingard & Francis, 2012;Žnidaršič & Bernik, 2021). The management may assume this is a personal problem for each employee, yet the family is a fundamental part of society, in which traditional management theory that divides family problems from work problems is no longer relevant. ...
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Orientation: Many employees find it difficult to balance their role in family and work. For the organisation to be successful in achieving its goals, management must be fully aware of the employee’s needs as well as responsibilities towards the employee’s family.Research purpose: This study aimed to analyse the effect of work–family conflict on work–life balance, the effect of work–family conflict on performance, the effect of work–life balance on performance and the effect of work–family conflict on employee performance through work–life balance as the intervening variable.Research approach/design and method: The population of this study comprised all taxation civil services in The Solo Region totaling 694 participants. A sample of 254 people. The primary data was obtained through questionnaires distributed to respondents. This research employed the partial least square analysis method.Main findings: Work–family conflict had a negative and significant effect on work–life balance and performance. Work–life balance had a positive and significant effect on employee performance. Work–family conflict showed a negative and significant effect on employee performance through work–life balance.Practical/managerial implications: In an effort to minimise the possibility of work–family conflict, employees should remain knowledgeable in balancing the fulfilment of role demands in work and life domains. The organisation is expected to create a comfortable and supportive work atmosphere in order to avoid employee role conflicts efficiently.Contribution/value-add: This study provides a new contribution to proving the theory of the relationship between work–family conflict, work–life balance and individual performance.
... Equality and partnership in their marital relationship are being seen as an important factor helping dual career couples to cope with the joint demands of work and family. With increase in women's participation in the workforce, couples now expect that they will have more fulfilment in both, work and personal life (Francis and Lingard, 2002). This arrangement may provide various advantages such as a rise in disposable income, equality, and sharing responsibility for managing the household chores. ...
... The nd factor was ranked as 2 by both white-collar and blue-collar women. Unlike what obtains in the construction industries of some advanced countries (An & Park, 2019;Francis & Lingard, 2002), there are no provisions for childcare in most construction sites in Nigeria. Amaratunga et al.'s (2006) conclusion that employers should provide child-care in construction work places to incentivize women's participation in the industry is supported by the result of this study. ...
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Many studies have examined the drivers and challenges of women in the construction industry, yet most did not explore the differences in these variables for women in white-collar and blue-collar job positions. This study was undertaken to ascertain the differences in the drivers and demotivators of women in white-collar and blue-collar construction jobs. Samples (n=56) were surveyed purposively from construction organisations and sites in Delta and Edo States of Nigeria. Three (3) existential needs were found to be the severest drivers of women's engagement in the construction industry, namely: need for economic freedom, to cater for family/children and unemployment. However, the white-collar women ranked the need for economic freedom significantly higher than those in blue-collar jobs, while those in blue-collar jobs considered unemployment a significantly more severe driver of their engagement in construction work. They also considered construction work to be significantly more strenuous than the white-collar women. Future reforms should seek to reduce the strain involved in construction work by mainstreaming the use of simple tools and machines that can be used by women. Childcare facilities should be provided on sites for public projects where women are engaged. This study shows that differences do exist in some of the drivers and challenges of white-collar and blue-collar women in the construction industry.
... Nevertheless, these industries lagging, including construction, can do more because of many reasons. For example, the advancement in technology, through presenting its challenges, have made working remotely more feasible for many professions (Francis and Lingard 2012). Other possible explanations, such as culture are covered elsewhere in this paper. ...
Conference Paper
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The concept of Safety in Design (SiD) is strongly influenced by the UK CDM Regulations and the drive to improve safety and health in the industry. Designers have a responsibility not only for design and build; but for use and maintenance by designing out any hazards at any of these phases. The impact that designers have on site safety is dependent on their skills, knowledge, experience and organisational capability to modify designs towards improving safety. This study reviewed the impact of SiD during use and maintenance of 12 existing public buildings in London by visually inspecting and adopting a scoring matrix for the design hazards. The inspection data acquired were evaluated using a design control-measure database with recommended alternative design decisions capable of improving safety. The findings suggest that buildings post-CDM 1994 incorporated better safety initiatives in the designs than buildings pre-CDM. In principle, 9 out of the 12 (75%) buildings inspected had good level of SiD implemented in the design e.g. the foyer. Eight (8) of the 12 buildings had safety-related issues with manhole chambers/access shafts located in busy access areas, damaged or uneven entrance to the buildings, external wall-window systems, working at height, slips and trips, location of plant rooms and SiD implementation in buildings pre and post-CDM regulations. This study contributes to the discussions around public building safety by demonstrating that the implementation of SiD in the overall design of the entire building significantly improves the safety of buildings rather than SiD in some specific areas of the building. The limitations of this study included restricted access to plant rooms and small sample size which inhibits the generalisation of the findings. Therefore, future studies would benefit from using larger sample sizes and prior permission from the building operators to gain unrestricted access to conduct inspections.
... Ochieng et al. examined challenges faced by senior construction managers in managing cross-cultural complexity and uncertainty [28]. Francis and Lingard claimed that societal attitudes and work values were changing and that these changes had been reflected in the employment practices of many construction companies [29]. Morrison and Thurnell addressed that, in order to attract and retain valuable employees, the New Zealand construction industry must provide useful work-life benefits, reasonable working hours, and supportive workplace cultures in line with such initiatives [30]. ...
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Through questionnaire surveys, this study explored the discrepancies in work values and organizational management between employees and cadre members of construction enterprises on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. Statistical methods including data reliability, regression analysis, and tests of significance were utilized for modelling a case study. The findings of this study included: (1) in terms of work values, employees from China focused on their lives "at present", while those from Taiwan focused on their lives "in the future", expecting to improve the quality of their lives later on through advanced studies and promotion; (2) according to the data obtained from the questionnaires, the answers regarding income and welfare in terms of work values and satisfaction were contradictory on the two sides of the Strait, which could be interpreted in terms of influence from society; and (3) there was a significant influence of organizational management on employees' intentions to resign. If enterprises could improve current organizational management systems, their employees' work attitudes would be improved and the tendency to resign would be reduced.
... Already, construction is dropping in career appeal and shortage of skills has been highlighted as an issue for the 21st century. In the 1999 edition of the Jobs Rated Almanac, civil engineering fell from 18th to 70th position in expressed job preference and 14 construction occupations were rated in the bottom ranks (Francis and Lingard, 2002 ). This image has implications for the recruitment and retention of talented employees within the industry. ...
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A survey of undergraduate students in Australia and Hong Kong revealed that a specially adapted version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (the MBI-SS) possesses good internal consistency reliability among construction students. A three-component model of student burnout, comprising emotional exhaustion, cynicism and personal efficacy was supported in both the Australian and Hong Kong samples. Burnout levels among construction students were similar to those reported in previous non-construction student samples. Both Australian and Hong Kong construction students reported higher personal efficacy than non-construction students. Australian students expressed considerably higher cynicism in relation to their university education than the Hong Kong students. The three dimensions of burnout were differentially correlated with work, study and socio-economic variables. In Australia, student burnout was associated with a perceived tension between paid work and study. In Hong Kong, the demands of study and concern with the economy were significant correlates of student burnout.
Objective This scoping review aims to investigate whether the construct of mental health used in research in global construction industry workers utilises a dual-continuum model of mental health that incorporates both wellbeing and mental illness dimensions. Methods A search was conducted in SCOPUS, ERIC, PubMed/MEDLINE, PsychINFO, Web of Science, and VOCED between July 2020 and August 2020. Google was searched for additional records between September 2019 to May 2021. Results Five focus areas emerged within the 74 articles identified: Mental Health, Mental Illness, Substance Use, Suicide, and Wellbeing. Findings revealed ambiguity in how mental illness and wellbeing were conceptualised and operationalised. No study utilised a dual-continuum model of mental health that incorporated both wellbeing and mental illness dimensions. Conclusions Mental health in the construction industry is poorly understood. Construction workers, researchers and clinicians would benefit from a reliable and valid evidence base to support mental health literacy initiatives and mental health treatments.
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Bu çalışma iş stresi yüksek bir meslek grubu olarak bilinen hava trafik kontrolörleri üzerinde gerçekleştirilmiştir. Çalışmada, hava trafik kontrolörlerinin algıladıkları iş streslerinin işten ayrılma niyetleri üzerine etkisinde, iş tatmin seviyelerinin ve öznel yorgunluk algılarının oynadığı rol araştırılmıştır. Çalışma 222 hava trafik kontrolörünün katılımıyla gerçekleştirilmiştir. Çalışma sonuçlarına göre iş stresi; işten ayrılma niyetini pozitif, içsel ve dışsal tatmini ise negatif ve anlamlı şekilde yordamaktadır. İş stresinin öznel yorgunluk algısı üzerine anlamlı bir etkisi tespit edilememiştir. Çalışmada ayrıca içsel ve dışsal tatminin, işten ayrılma niyetini negatif ve anlamlı şekilde yordadığı da bulunmuştur. Öznel yorgunluk algısı da işten ayrılma niyetini pozitif ve anlamlı bir şekilde yordamaktadır. Çalışmada son olarak algılanan iş stresi ile işten ayrılma niyeti ilişkisinde, içsel ve dışsal tatminin aracılık rolü üstlendiği de ulaşılan bulgular arasındadır. This study has been carried out on air traffic controllers who are known for experiencing high work stress. In the study, the role of the levels of job satisfaction and subjective fatigue perceptions in the effect of work stress on intention to quit of the air traffic controllers have been examined. The study has been conducted with the participation of 222 air traffic controllers. According to the results of the study, work stress has predicted intention to quit positively and internal and external job satisfaction negatively and significantly. The significant effect of work stress on subjective fatigue perception hasn't been determined. Besides, in the study, it has been found that internal and external job satisfaction has predicted the intention to quit positively and significantly. The subjective fatigue perception has predicted the intention to quit positively and significantly. Finally, the internal and external job satisfaction has a mediator role in the relationship between perceived work stress and the intention to quit is one of the results obtained in the study.
A survey was conducted among employees of a large Australian construction firm. Comparisons were made between employees who differed by gender and work location. Male employees in site-based roles reported significantly higher levels of work to family conflict and emotional exhaustion than male employees who worked in the regional or head office. Site-based male employees were also less satisfied with their pay than male respondents who worked in the regional of head office. Few significant differences were found between women who worked in different locations. Neither were significant differences between men and women who worked in the same location reported. The results are explained in terms of women's tendency to work in administrative, secretarial or support services roles, which typically demand fewer hours. The paper concludes that the experiences of site-based construction employees, particularly men, warrant further attention to explore the sources of work-life imbalance and burnout.
This study examined the relationship between perceived stress resulting from job in security and marital and family functioning. Data were collected from 111 married couples (N = 222) in which at least one of the spouses was working in an insecure job environment. Regression analyses showed that job insecurity stress was related in a systemic way to marital and family dysfunction and the number of family problems reported. Implications for family life education, marriage and family therapy, and organizational policies are discussed.
The contributors of this book have presented data from a variety of research projects that show the many and dynamic ways in which the worlds or work and family are intricately connected. This interconnectedness becomes even more apparent when stressful experiences in the workplace or the family upset the homeostasis that may otherwise have been achieved between these domains. As such, the investigation of chronic stress in the workplace and disruptions such as job loss becomes a potential window investigators can use to explore normative family processes, just as chronic stress and change in the family informs our understanding of the meaning of work roles.
Do conventional, "best practice" guidelines for first-line supervisors adequately prepare them for the diverse work force of the next century? Willa Bruce and Christine Reed contrast the complexities of new work and family roles with the simplicity of traditional theories of workplace supervision. These theories reflect a dominant underlying culture that questions the commitment or integrity of employees who are either married to co-workers or are the primary caregivers of young children. Initial research findings suggest that "family-friendly" benefits offer limited support to working parents and to dual-career couples, despite their growing numbers in the work force. The authors conclude that supervisory training needs to change to emphasize acceptance of diversity in the workplace.
The direct and moderating effects of coping mechanisms used by 314 spouses in dual-income marriages were examined. The dependent construct was individual well-being, which included measures of emotional affect and physical symptomatology. Five coping mechanisms were examined: planning, talking, withdrawing, cognitive restructuring, and limiting job responsibilities. The direct effects of coping on well-being were minimal. However, coping moderated several effects of role conflict and role overload on spouse's well-being. Planning and cognitive restructuring were significant buffering mechanisms for wives. Restructuring and withdrawing were important buffering mechanisms for husbands. Contrary to the hypothesis, seeking support through talking exacerbated the relationship between husband's role overload and positive affect.
Few studies have examined the distribution of housework across family types. Using a nationally representative sample, this paper examines the division of household labor in first-marriage families, stepfamilies, families headed by divorced mothers, and families headed by never-married mothers. Findings indicate that, across family types and regardless of women's employment status, women perform two to three times more housework than their husbands or cohabiting partners. Implications for family life education are discussed.
In this analysis, I estimated separately the moderating effect of marital role and parent role quality on the relationship between job role quality and psychological distress in a random sample of 300 full-time employed women in dual-earner couples. The hypothesized relationships were confirmed: The quality of women's marital and parental roles each buffered women from the negative mental health effects associated with a poor experience on the job. Comparison of these data with those previously reported by the husbands of these women indicated that these interaction effects did not depend on gender. For full-time employed men and women in dual-earner couples, positive experiences in the role of partner or parent buffered the effects of job experiences on psychological distress.
This study examines the relations between different patterns of commitment to work and to parenting and level of role strain. A sample of 102 middle-class fathers and 194 mothers completed self-report measures of role commitment and role strain and described their role quality, social support, and occupation. The hypothesis that balanced, positive commitments to work and parenting (i.e., the high/high pattern) would be associated with lower role strain was not supported; for fathers of preschoolers in dual-earner marriages, the pattern of low work-high parental commitment was associated with the least role strain. In general, relations between commitment patterns and role strain were conditioned by the occupational and social context of adults' lives.
This study uses a national panel of 1,668 married women and men interviewed in 1980 and again in 1983 to assess the commonsense notion that shift work damages marital quality. The effects of shift work are assessed on six measures of marital quality (marital happiness, interaction, disagreements, general problems, sexual problems, and child-related problems) and the probability of divorce. The results suggest that shift work has a modest but very general negative effect on marital quality: every indicator of marital quality is significantly and negatively affected by shift work in at least one analysis. This negative effect is supported by both cross-sectional and panel analysis and does not appear to be attributable to correlated job characteristics. Shift work is also found to increase the probability of divorce from 7% to 11% over the three-year period.