Linking demands to work-family conflict through boundary strength
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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to propose and test a model to examine how the active management of work-family boundary strength acts as behavioral mechanism through which role-based factors-role demands and role identity-influence the conflict experienced by individuals. Design/methodology/approach - Three studies were conducted to examine the proposed model. Studies 1 and 2 used an experimental design to test the causal effects of role demands on the strength of work and family boundaries, whereas Study 3 surveyed 389 working professionals to test the interactional and mediating effects of the model variables on inter-role conflict. Findings - Results suggest that increasing demands in one domain weaken the boundary strength around the cross-domain to make resource drain possible, which, in turn, increases the conflict experienced in that domain; moreover, results show that work identity reinforces the weakening of the boundary strength at home caused by increasing work demands. Research limitations/implications - The study of boundary management decisions as an underlying mechanism through which individuals' role-based factors affect work-family conflict (WFC) can offer new insights into how to manage increasing work-family responsibilities. Practical implications - This study findings can help individuals to cope with role demands and organizations to promote a culture that supports work-family balance. Originality/value - This paper advances WFC research by examining alternative mechanisms through which role demands influence WFC. Methodologically, the research improves on past studies by bringing together experimental and correlational designs.