The relationship between organisational context and work-life balance of employees in New Zealand : a quantitative study using social exchange theory : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Management at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

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Massey University
Work-life balance (WLB) is often a determining factor in terms of employee retention, commitment, and satisfaction. Demographic changes such as the increase of women in the labour force, ageing populations and family structures, have resulted in employees shifting their lifestyle focus from solely work to catering to their non-work activities as well. This has also evolved the relationship between employee and employer. According to social exchange theory (SET), the employment relationship is built on the rule of reciprocity where employee attitudes and behaviours are influenced by expected benefits or fulfilment of needs. This thesis will address the application of SET to WLB by investigating how the concepts of perceived organisational support (POS), employee engagement (defined as organisational and job engagement) and the psychological contract (PC) interact with WLB. The primary research design used in this study is a cross-sectional correlational survey. The target participants were New Zealand (NZ) based individuals employed in various fields and positions. A total of 114 fully completed surveys were analysed using the partial least squares structural equation model (PLS-SEM) technique. To help further explore key findings from the quantitative analysis, semi-structured qualitative interviews with a diversity expert, a senior human resource professional, and a human resource professor provided valuable insights with which to triangulate and extend the survey findings. POS was found to influence all the PC dimensions and WLB. Organisational engagement did not have any influence on either the PC dimensions or WLB, while job engagement had a negative influence on WLB. This presents concerns for employers on how attachment to the organisation may or may not impact areas other than WLB, such as turnover and organisational citizenship behaviour. The only PC dimensions with an influence on WLB were those related to job content and the respect for private life. The study offers a framework on how the context that the organisation offers impacts employees’ perceptions of WLB. The implication that there is a link between what employees expect and how they relate to WLB demonstrates the importance for practitioners to take a more personalised approach around WLB practices if they are to be effective.
Work-life balance, Organizational behavior, Personnel management, New Zealand