Wiston A. Rodriguez, M.S., Baruch College; Katlin Busse, Baruch College; Zhiqing E. Zhou, Ph.D., Baruch College

Employees’ work and nonwork lives have become increasingly interconnected, often blurring between both domains (Kossek, 2016). As a result, employees often experience family-to-work conflict (FWC) and family-to-work enrichment (FWE), differing from work-to-family conflict (WFC) and enrichment (WFE), which focuses on work impacting the non-work domain (Amstad et al., 2011). In comparison to the research on WFC?s influence on employees non-work outcomes (e.g., Allen et al., 2000), our understanding of how the family-work interface impacts employees’ work-related outcomes is limited (Schieman et al., 2003). Despite limited research on the link between FWC and FWE with organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs), there is a lack of research done on the underlying mechanisms in place. Therefore, this study examines how the family-work interface can influence employees’ prosocial workplace behaviors while exploring the processes and boundary conditions.

FWC has been linked to reduced levels of OCBs (Mercado & Dilchert, 2017), Likewise, there is one previous study finding a positive relationship for FWE and OCBs (Bhargava & Baral, 2009). To date, there is no research focused on the mediating link between both predictors with OCBs. Given exhaustion’s ability to deplete resources (Aryee et al., 2008), we expect that it will play a role in whether employees engage in OCBs based on their FWC and FWE.

Because FSSBs are a resource that can reduce role conflict and retain other resources (e.g., time, energy; Hammer et al., 2016), we believe it will mitigate the positive relationship between FWC and exhaustion, so the relationship will be weaker for those with more FSSBs. Likewise, because FWE can enhance employees’ resources, we believe FSSBs can be further resource-enhancing and moderate the negative relationship between enrichment and exhaustion, so the relationship will be stronger for those with more FSSBs. See Figure 1 for study hypotheses and research model.

Data was collected over three-waves with a six-week lag in between each survey to reduce the risk of common method variance (Podsakoff et al., 2003). Our final sample included 129 participants who completed all three surveys. They had an average age of 37.62 years (SD = 9.52) and tenure of 5.5 years (SD = 6.4). Most participants were White (78.3%) and 27% were male.

We used the following previously validated measures to assess the chosen variables. All measures used a 5-point Likert scale (1 = Strongly Disagree, 5 = Strongly Agree). FWC. 9-items from Carlson et al. (2000). FWE. 9-items from Kacmar et al. (2014). FSSB. 4-items from Hammer et al. (2013). Emotional Exhaustion. 6-items from Demerouti et al. (2003). OCB (T3). 10-items from Fox et al. (2007). Control Variables. Gender, age, and organizational tenure. All variables’ means, standard deviations, and correlations coefficients are reported in Table 1. We tested our hypotheses using SPSS PROCESS macro by Hayes (2013).

As shown in Table 1 and 2, FWC was negatively related to OCB (r = -.31, p < .01) and FWE was positively related to OCB (r = .18, p < .05), supporting Hypothesis 1 and 2. Hypotheses 3 and 4 were tested using SPSS PROCESS macro model 4 (Hayes, 2013) with 5000 bootstraps. The indirect effect of FWC on OCB through exhaustion was -.08 (95% CI [-.49, -.07]). Moreover, the indirect effect of FWE on OCB through exhaustion was .08 (95% CI [.02, .16]), thus, supporting both hypotheses. We tested the moderating effect of FSSB using PROCESS macro model 1 (Hayes, 2013). The interaction was not significant for both FWC and FSSB (b = .01, p = .84) and FWE and FSSB (b = -.02, p = .60), thus Hypothesis 5a and 5b were not supported.

The results suggest FWC and FWE were related to OCBs through exhaustion. FWC had an indirect negative effect on OCBs while FWE had a positive indirect effect on OCBs. The moderating effect of FSSBs was not significant for either FWC or FWE’s relationship with exhaustion. This study highlights the differential relationship between FWC and FWE on OCBs, and the mediating and moderating mechanisms. Our study also highlights the importance that FWC and FWE play on prosocial work behaviors.

Organizations should consider implementing interventions to help employees better manage their work-family lives to reduce conflict and enhance enrichment (Hammer et al., 2016). This study also possessed some limitations. Although data was collected across three-waves, the study relied on self-reported measures. Additionally, we only focused on one type of employee behavior outcome (i.e., OCBs), rather than different types of behaviors.

Our findings demonstrate that employees’ levels of FWC and FWE can influence the likelihood of engaging in OCBs through exhaustion. Moreover, FSSBs did not moderate the relationship between both predictors and exhaustion. We encourage future studies to use other methods, explore additional outcome variables, and examine additional moderating and mediating mechanisms to better understand how FWC and FWE indirectly impact OCBs and other workplace behaviors.

Tags: Applicable to all occupations/industries, Applied research, Empirical study, Fit; Balance; Conflict; Spillover; and Enrichment, Work - Life - Family