Review problem, stating objectives, selecting appropriate design and methodology

Review of literature is an important step in undertaking research. It helps in clarifying and defining the problem, stating objectives, selecting appropriate design and methodology of research as well as interpreting the results in the light of the research work already undertaken. In this chapter, an endeavor has been made to provide an overview of various aspects of study through the review of existing literature. The researcher referred to online articles. Work-life balance with different prospective are studied and available, in recent years, there has been an increased interest in work family interface in the human resource management.

A literature review is a critical analysis of published sources, or literature, on a particular topic. It is an assessment of the literature and provides a summary, classification, comparison and evaluation. At postgraduate level literature reviews can be incorporated into an article, a research report or thesis. Lamb Davis say, literature reviews are secondary sources, and do not report new or original experimental work. Most often associated with academic-oriented literature, such reviews are found in academic journals, and are not to be confused with book reviews that may also appear in the same publication. Literature reviews are a basis for research in nearly every academic field. Awareness about various studies on the research topic can help the researcher in being familiar about the topic and to know what is already discovered.

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 Studies Related to Work-Life Balance

A number of studies have addressed this issue from different perspectives. Greenhaus and Beutell (1985) and Greenhaus et al. (1989) studied of conflict between family and work. Peter L.T. Hoonakker, Pascale Carayon and Jen S. Schoepke studied about the Work Family Conflict in the IT Work Force. Tess Kay examined about the Work-Life Balance in Social Practice. National Council of Family Relations has published an article on Finding an Extra Day a Week: The Positive Influence of Perceived Job Flexibility on Work and Family Life Balance. An article by Sahana Maiya on an Empirical Investigation on Work Life Balance among Working Mothers: Emerging HRM Interventions. Campbell,Campbell and Kennard (1994) have studied the effects of family responsibilities on the work commitment and job performance of women. Higgins et al.(1992), Hochschild (1989), Kelley and Voydanoff (1985), Hochschild (1989) Thompson & Walker (1989) revealed that working women face well-documented conflicts due to their continuing role as primary caretakers for their homes, children, and/or elderly parents being women’s greater responsibility for children and other family members and they experience more interruptions than men resulting common household problems.

Changes in the social, political and economic fabric of societies have influenced and continue to influence both the nature of employment and its relationship to life outside work. Work life balance has emerged as a hot topic in recent years– fuelled in part by changing trends in women’s social roles. Whilst labour market participation has increased for women of all ages, women continue to shoulder the main responsibility for organizing and undertaking unpaid caring work. In India, it is taken for granted that economic activities are exclusively the prerogative of males while domestic work, child bearing and child rearing are the sole occupations of women. Historically, women in India have not enjoyed a good status in workplace settings whether in managerial or operative roles. Since times immemorial, women have been burdened with work of all sorts all through their lives. From reproduction to all household chores and outside, their role as worker is significant, unique and burdensome. But they are discriminated and exploited all over. The Services Sector constitutes a large part of the Indian economy both in terms of employment potential and its contribution to national income. The Sector covers a wide range of activities from the most sophisticated in the field of Information and Communication Technology to simple services pursued by the informal sector workers, for example, vegetable sellers, hawkers, rickshaw pullers, etc. Among fast growing developing countries, India is distinctive for the role of the service sector. The changing economic conditions and social demands have changed the nature of work throughout the world. The concept of Work life balance is becoming more and more relevant in an ever dynamic working environment.

 The objectives of the study was to identify the determinants of work life balance of women employees, to find out present practices followed by women employees for work life balance, to find the current policies by the organizations to facilitate work life balance, to identify the perception of women employees towards benefits and challenge towards work life balance and to explore the statutory measures towards work life balance.

The findings of this study was that the participants rated work-life balance as the most important of the propositions, there is presence of imbalance among the work life and personal life of female employees, Practices followed by majority of female employees to manage professional and personal life are time management, use of personal vehicle for commuting, proper planning well in advance and participating in social networking. (Mehtha Rameshkumar Vijayshri 2012).

Work-life balance policies and practices are becoming increasingly important also to Higher Education employers. An audit was carried out last year, by HEFCE, to look at flexible employment practices in HE and identify examples of good practice (Scott, 2002). The HE Employers Association (UCEA) has produced a set of guidelines to assist institutions to develop policies in support of flexible working arrangements. This guide will also provide a number of examples of good practice from universities that have already identified the benefits of adopting a work-life balance approach. Furthermore the adoption of work-life balance policies and practices can improve an organisation’s ability to respond to customers’ demands for increased access to services and deal with changes in a way that can be satisfactory to both employers and employees. This was the experience of Bristol City Council that was able to meet its customers’ demands and extend the opening hours of public libraries to Sundays. As Kamaljit Poonia, Equality Team Leader for the Council, explained:

“We have been able to meet the two fundamental principles which underpin the project: to maintain and improve service delivery to the public, whilst meeting staff aspirations for a better work-life balance” (cited in A Good Practice Guide for Employers, DfEE, 2000).

There is also evidence which suggests that employers who support a work-life balance ethos and offer flexible working arrangements are likely to have a competitive advantage in the labour market; in particular in relation to the new generation of employees. A survey carried out among 6,000 students in 44 universities shows that ‘achieving a healthy work-life balance is the most important consideration for graduates when it comes to choosing an employer’ (Personnel Today, 2002). This is an important factor when taken in the context of the estimate by the Employers’ Forum on Age that by 2020, 50% of the workforce will be over 50 years old and that the competition for younger talent is expected to become increasingly fierce. This reinforces the conclusion from the other data that work-life balance policies and practices are an important, and perhaps essential, recruitment tool. The concept of work-life balance is based on the notion that paid work and personal life should be seen less as competing priorities than as complementary elements of a full life. It is important for employers to support work-life balance to comply with legal requirements that afford working parents the right to request to work flexibly, to promote equality of opportunities by ensuring that staff with caring responsibilities is not disadvantaged in the workplace, and to widen access to paid work and career opportunities. There is also a strong business case in support of work-life balance. Evidence from independent research as well as from employers’ own assessments of flexible working practices shows that helping staff to strike a balance between paid work and personal life can lead to improved recruitment and retention, reduction of absenteeism, and an improved staff commitment and productivity. (Simonetta Manfredi and Michelle Holliday).

 From 2000 to 2010, overall, the occupation of computer specialists is projected to grow 68.6 percent, and the occupation of computer and information systems managers is projected to grow 48% (Hecker, 2001). Although demand dropped considerably in recent years (5% alone in 2001, ITAA 2002), there is still a lack of qualified workers, referred to as the “gap” in IT workers (ITAA, 2002). A large subset of this problem is the under representation of women and minorities in the IT workforce. Under representation is caused by insufficient women and minorities entering the IT workforce as well as too many of them leaving the IT workforce.

The literature shows that there are two important pathways to turnover in the IT work force. The studies conducted by Igbaria (1992a, 1992b) show that job characteristics, in particular role model factors, influence quality of working life, e.g., job satisfaction and organizational involvement, which in turn predicts turnover. Moore (2000) shows that the classical “stress/burnout” pathway also plays a role in turnover of IT workers. Job characteristics, such as high job demands, low job control and low social support, affect health outcomes, more specifically burnout. This pathway shows gender differences. The results of Moore’s study show that women seem to be more susceptible to this pathway. 

However, another factor associated with quality of working life and turnover is work family conflict (WFC). Family matters that spill over into working life (FW) and working life factors that spill over into family life (WF) can add to the psychological demands placed upon workers and therefore affect their well-being, stress and depression (Googins, 1991), physical ailments (Frone et al, 1997), life satisfaction (Higgins et al, 1992) and turnover (Greenhaus et al, 1997; Netemeyer et al, 1996) This is particularly true for women (Grant-Vallone & Donaldson, 2001). We present results of a study on retention and turnover in the IT work force and the role of work family conflict in the turnover process for men and women. (Hoonakker Peter L.T., Pascale Carayon and Schoepke Jen S)

For decades, American workers have appeared content with the length of their work weeks. Since World War II, labor unions in the United States have overwhelmingly chosen to fight for higher wages rather than less work time (Schor, 1991). In the last few years, however, there are growing signs that many Americans are once again yearning for shorter work hours. Articles in the popular media chronicle the difficulties faced by employees who work increasing hours. Although researchers disagree over whether and for whom work hours are actually increasing ,by most accounts, people report feeling more rushed today than they did 30 years ago, and over 60% of American workers report wanting to work fewer hours.  A prominent theme within both the academic and the popular press is that long work hours may have negative consequences for families and for workers who struggle to balance the demands of work and home life. Work–family researchers have long assumed that time committed to work contributes to conflict between employees’ work and non-work lives. For example, a commonly measured form of work–family conflict is time-based conflict, defined as conflict that occurs when the amount of time devoted to one role (e.g., worker) makes it difficult to fulfil the requirements of another. Similarly, the rational model of work family conflict holds that conflict increases in proportion to the amount of time spent in the work and family domains. Yet despite the common assumption that time plays an important role in work–family conflict, surprisingly few scholars have actually measured work time and its effect on the relations between work and family domains. Moreover, we know little about whether there are important moderators of the relationship between time and conflict; gender is the only moderator that has been studied, with inconsistent findings . Finally, only two of the above studies assessed the relationship between work time and well-being or stress. (Virginia Smith Major, Katherine J. Klein, and Mark G. Ehrhart).

Women empowerment is an essential precondition for elimination of poverty. Many International and National bodies have stressed on women empowerment giving attention to their participation in society, decision-making, education and health. In India, Micro finance and Self Help Group (SHG) intervention have brought tremendous change in the life of women at the grass root level. Currently around 1640 SHGs exist in Pondicherry and are successfully managed by women. A life of dignity is the right of every citizen and poverty is an obstruction to a dignified life. Of the 1.3 billion people who live in absolute poverty around the globe, about 70 % are women. For these women, poverty doesn’t just mean scarcity and want, rather, rights denied, opportunities curtailed and voices silenced.2Women, who represent half of the human so, due to their inferior positioning in the society.

According to the reports of the United Nations Millennium Campaign to halve world poverty by the year 2015, women make up two thirds of the adults worldwide who cannot read or write, work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, earn only 10 per cent of the world’s income and own less than 1 per cent of the world’s property. Women are the poorest of the poor, thus women empowerment is a matter of basic human rights. Hence, International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held at Cairo 1994, called attention to women’s empowerment as a central focus and declared that if human development is not engendered, it is endangered. Considering all these factors, women empowerment is inevitable for the overall progress of community and the country which is also stressed in Millennium Development Goals (MDG – 3) (to promote gender equality and empower women).’Empowerment’ is a continuous process by which powerless people become conscious of their situation, organize collectively to improve it and access opportunities, as an outcome of which they take control over their own lives, set their own agenda, gain skills, solve problems and develop self-reliance. (Singh Suresh K and Sahu Lopamudra).

Studies in India as well as in neighbouring countries have primarily depended upon foreign scales for evaluating work/life conflict and work/life balance. Bhargava,S. and Baral, R. (2009) in their study on the ‘Antecedents and Consequences of Work-Family Enrichment among Indian Managers’ and Rajadhyaksha, U. and Velgach, S. (2000), for their study ‘Gender, Gender Role Ideology and Work Family Conflict in India’ have used items from the Carlson, Kacmar and Williams (2000) measure on Work-to-Family Enrichment and Family-to-Work Enrichment to ascertain work/family conflict. Similarly, Noor, S.and Maad, N. (2008) in their study of Work Life Conflict, Stress and Turnover Intentions among Marketing Executives in Pakistan, Ahmad’s 1998 on Gender Differences in the Boundary Permeability between Work and Family Roles and Malhotra and Sachdeva (2005) for Social Roles and Role Conflict: An Inter-professional Study among Women, have all used scales developed and validated outside India. Hence, it was felt that a scale measuring work/life balance in context with the Indian perceptions and setting was much needed. The authors have come across just one scale measuring work/life balance constructed in Indian setting post liberalisation and globalisation of the Indian economy. Wesley, J. R. and Muthuswamy, P. R. (2005) developed a Work-Family Conflict scale with five items each for Work Family Conflict and Family Work Conflict. Their population for study was teaching faculty at self-financing engineering colleges in Coimbatore, India. The study concentrated on work interference with life and life interference with work and does not include the Behavioural component that is included in the present scale.

The gaps identified above necessitated undertaking the present study on work/life conflict. The study examines a bi-directional work/life construct in the Indian context. After completing the literature review, an empirical study was undertaken aimed at developing and validating a scale for measuring work/life balance among professionals working in India.

Work/life balance is an emergent issue in the expanding Indian economy. Achieving a good balance between work and family commitments is a growing concern for contemporary employees and organisations. There is now mounting evidence-linking work–life imbalance to reduced health and wellbeing among individuals and families. It is not surprising then that there is increasing interest among organisational stakeholders for introducing work–life balance policies in their organisations.

According to Rajadhyaksha and Smita (2004), work and family research in India appears to have followed two separate and disconnected paths. One is the route charted out by women’s studies centres that has looked at structures of patriarchy within the country and how these contribute to the subordination of women at work and at home. Their focus has been on rural and underprivileged women. The other path of psychosocial research conducted from a role theory perspective has largely examined work and family relations within urban settings. There has been little cross-pollination between these two streams marked by lack of cross-references in published research studies. Further, research in the area of Management, where it is most needed, has been sparse and lacking in depth. The current study aims at filling up this gap. (Dr. Singh Smita)

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