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Natalie Skinner & Janine Chapman
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  1. Show me the evidence! Identifying and developing evidence-based work-life policies and practices from a systematic review of Australian and international research Natalie Skinner & Janine Chapman

  2. Today ……. • CWL review: • 1,926 AU & international publications (2000 – 2013) • Eby et al (2005) • 190 work-family studies 1980 – 2002 • quantitative psychology/management pubs

  3. Is there anywhere on earth exempt from these swarms of new books?” • (Erasmus, early 16th century scholar)And further, by these, my sonne, be admonished: of making many bookes there is no end, and much studie is a wearinesse of the flesh. • (Ecclesiastes, 1611 King James Bible) • We have reason to fear that the multitude of books which grows every day in a prodigious fashion will make the following centuries fall into a state as barbarous as that of the centuries that followed the fall of the Roman Empire.(AdrienBaillet, 1685, French scholar and critic, biographer of René Descartes)

  4. CWL review ……2000 - 2013 • AU & NZ research in peer-reviewed journals • Quant + qual • N = 23 studies of general workforce • N = 43 (select) industry studies • 10 public sector • 17 health/social services • 16 construction • Less common: longitudinal • Rare: org interventions

  5. Inclusion criteria • The study must include measures of work-life outcomes • work-family or work-life conflict, facilitation, spillover, interaction, intersection etc • The study findings must be applicable to policy formation and development • The research must be located in Australia or New Zealand • The article must be published between 2000 and 2013 in a peer-reviewed publication.

  6. International evidence - outcomes • 3 x meta-analyses • consistent: physical & psychological health, job satisfaction • .20 - .40 (burnout, stress) • mixed: absenteeism, performance, turnover intention • n.s to .29 • 10 x longitudinal studies • consistent: mental health (burnout, psych distress), sickness absence • Australian studies (n = 6) • Consistent: psych distress, turnover/absenteeism

  7. Performance & productivity • Meta-analyses of WLI-perf assoc: .11 - .16 • Complexity – measurement, predictors • Gilboa et al (2008): job ambiguity strongest predictor of performance • Indirect relationship via: • Reduced sickness absence / absenteeism • Greater motivation/commitment/effort (reciprocity norm) • Libby Holden & colleagues – AU study • longer hours  reduced performance effectiveness & increased • absenteeism

  8. Major policy areas: • Flexibility • Work hours • Leave (paid/unpaid) • Childcare

  9. Flexibility • Australian studies • consistent: lower work-life interference (WLI) • mixed: type of flexible work practices • International studies – meta-analyses & longitudinal studies • mixed: impact on WLI • n.s to -.30 • Nijp et al 2012: job satisfaction, organizational commitment, self-rated perf • *Best Buy intervention in U.S

  10. Hours • Australian studies (n = 10) • Consistent: higher work-life interference (WLI) • Mixed: exact number of hours (40 – 41+) • International studies – meta-analyses • Consistent: higher WLI • Actual hours & time demands (expectations to work long hours) • .21 to .27

  11. Leave & childcare • Where is the research on w-l outcomes (& do we need it)? • Australian qual studies on uptake of leave • Family/parenting strains, turnover • AWALI – uptake of paid leave (*mothers*) • AU qual studies on childcare • Women’s employment participation, reduced work-family stress

  12. What does it take …… ? • ‘Best Buy’ Head Office – U.S • Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) • Employee and manager training, executive support •  Flexible work the norm, regardless of gender, life stage, work role •  Culture & practices: employees “do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done” •  Workers change work arrangements without asking permission

  13. But wait, it’s complicated ……. • “boundaryless” jobs & “greedy organisations” • Task & time autonomy, responsibility for work & outcomes • Performance linked to job security & promotion • Focus on high commitment to achieving work goals, no matter what the work hours required to achieve performance targets within strict deadlines • A large number of Dutch workers “find themselves trapped in a cycle of unfinished tasks and after-hours duties despite new laws and regulations that broaden the individual possibilities to choose the desired amount of working hours” van Echtelt et al (2006)

  14. International studies – meta-analyses • N = 8 • Organisational culture • .27 - .31 • Workload • .45 - .65

  15. In sum…..

  16. Policy is necessary but not sufficient

  17. How do you change workplace cultures? • Make non-standard work practices mainstream • Not “special consideration” for “privileged few” • eg Best Buy in the U.S • Managers & supervisors embody & communicate organisational culture • Supervisor training • Address “unintended consequences” • Outcomes speak louder than policies • Protect against economic, social & career penalties • For employees and supportive managers • Importance of supportive co-workers

  18. We shall not cease from explorationAnd the end of all our exploringWill be to arrive where we startedAnd know the place for the first time • T.S Eliot, Four Quartets

  19. Lack of ‘downtime’ in non-work hours, increased stress Mazmanian et al (2013). The Autonomy Paradox: The Implications of Mobile Email Devices for Knowledge Professionals. Organization Science

  20. We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us Marshall McLuhan (1994)

  21. Natalie Skinner Senior Research Fellow Centre for Work + Life University of South Australia (08) 8302 4250 Natalie.Skinner@unisa.edu.au www.unisa.edu.au/Research/Centre-for-Work-Life/