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Bowen, P and Zhang, R P (2020) Cross-Boundary Contact, Work-Family Conflict, Antecedents, and Consequences: Testing an Integrated Model for Construction Professionals. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 146(03).

  • Type: Journal Article
  • Keywords: Psychological distress; Work contact; Work-family conflict; Sleep problems;
  • ISBN/ISSN: 0733-9364
  • URL: https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001784
  • Abstract:
    Despite the bidirectional nature of work-family conflict, existing studies have focused mainly on work-to-family conflict. This study addresses that shortcoming through proposing an integrated work-family conflict model and testing the model on South African construction professionals. The model considered cross-boundary relationships between the work and family domains and the bidirectional nature of work-family conflict. Data were collected by means of an online questionnaire survey administered to construction professionals registered with their respective statutory councils. A total of 695 valid responses were subject to data analysis. The research results indicate that construction professionals’ experiences of work-to-family conflict are positively associated with work pressure while negatively associated with job autonomy and schedule control. Work pressure can negatively spill over to the family domain through the boundary-spanning activity of work contact (i.e., after-hours, work-related contact), which then leads to work-to-family conflict. Construction professionals’ experiences of family-to-work conflict are predicted by household tasks and childcare demands. Partner support is a useful family-domain resource in alleviating family-to-work conflict. Childcare demands can interfere with the work domain through family contact (i.e., being contacted by family to deal with family matters while at work), which then results in family-to-work conflict. Work-to-family conflict predicts family-to-work contact, but not the reverse. In terms of consequences, work-family conflict in both directions directly predicts psychological distress. Both work-to-family conflict and family-to-work conflict are also associated with sleep problems and alcohol use but through different pathways. This study highlights the important roles of an effective work design and useful boundary management tactics in protecting construction professionals from experiencing excessive work-family conflict.