Work-Family Balance, Well-Being, and Organizational Outcomes: Investigating Actual Versus Desired Work/Family Time Discrepancies

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Management; Psychology



The purpose of the current study was to describe and test two new correlates of work–family balance, based on discrepancies between actual and desired hours spent in the work domain (work hour discrepancy, WHD) and family domain (family hour discrepancy, FHD).


Participants were 330 employees of a moderate-sized, southeastern university who responded to a survey sent via e-mail.


Analyses indicated support for the utility of work and FHD scores for individual and organizational outcomes. Data also indicated FHD predicted work–family balance, well-being, and intention to leave above and beyond the individual components of actual and desired family hours, whereas WHD did not predict beyond individual components. Work–family balance mediated relationships between FHD and quality of life, stress, depression, and intention to leave.


This study provides support for incorporation of discrepancy indices in future work–family research. FHD predicted outcomes over and above the individual components of actual and desired hours whereas WHD did not, suggesting that compatibility between what an individual desires and experiences in the family domain may have a stronger influence on well-being and organizational outcomes compared to compatibility in the work domain.


These results are important given past focus on concepts such as work schedule fit (e.g., Moen, It’s about time: couples and careers, 2003), in that we extend past findings by also incorporating fit between values and experiences in the family domain, and linking discrepancies with work–family balance, well-being, and organizational outcomes.

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Original version available from the publisher at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10869-011-9246-1

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