Parents' experiences of work-family conflict: Does it matter if coworkers have children?
Keywords:environment, Germany, gender, person-team fit, similarity, dissimilarity
Objective: To examine how the perception of work-family conflict relates to the share of parents in women's and men's direct coworking environments.
Background: The idea of relational demography posits that individuals' relative positions within their coworking environments have an impact on their wellbeing. Depending on women's and men's parenthood status and the corresponding (dis-)similarity compared to their colleagues, this idea was applied to the perception of work-to-family and family-to-work conflicts.
Method: Time-based and strain-based work-to-family and family-to-work conflicts were analyzed by gender and parenthood with random effects panel regression models using longitudinal data from the LEEP-B3-survey, a large-scale linked employer-employee survey from Germany (2012/2013 and 2014/2015; 2,228 women and 2,656 men). The composition of the respondents’ working groups was included as a moderating variable.
Results: Mothers and fathers of children aged 0-11 years reported higher work-to-family and family-to-work conflicts than parents of older children and childless women and men. For mothers of children aged 0-11 years, a higher share of parents in their working groups was associated with less time-based family-to-work conflict. For fathers of children aged 0-11 years, the same associations were found for overall work-to-family conflict, strain-based work-to-family conflict as well as for all dimensions of family-to-work conflict.
Conclusion: Similarity between the team members regarding parenthood seemed to reduce mothers' and fathers' perceptions of work-family conflict beyond several other characteristics of the individuals and the workplaces.
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