Congruence in preferences and expectations of work-family role management: Operationalization and the relation with work-family balance and spousal support
Employees with children differ in how they want to manage their work and family roles. By integrating the literature on boundary management and role prioritization, we develop a visual measure to assess five such preferences. These are work-centric (i.e., prioritizing work over family), family-centric (i.e., prioritizing family over work) and three dual-centric preferences (i.e., emphasizing both roles to a similar extent), which differ in the degree to which working parents aim to blend their work and family roles, resulting in merging, integrating, or segmenting preferences. We test the validity of this measure in two studies (N = 156 and 172). Next, in Study 3 (N = 146, two measurement points), we propose and empirically support that congruence between employees’ preferences and spouses’ expectations on how they should combine their work and family roles relates to employees’ satisfaction with work-family balance and perceptions of spousal support. Overall, our results point to the importance of similarity between how one wants to manage work and family roles and how spouses expect one to manage these roles. Thereby, the measure developed in the present studies represents an economic way to assess these preferences and expectations, which can serve as a starting point for interventions to increase congruence.
Junker, N.M., & Van Dick, R. (in press). Congruence in preferences and expectations of work-family role management: Operationalization and the relation with work-family balance and spousal support. Sex Roles.