The role of dispositional and situational variables in the telecommuting and work/life balance relationship
Morris, Debra Ann
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This study examined the relationship between the Big Five personality dimensions, perceived supervisor support, perceived family support, home work environment and the work/life balance of telecommuters in order to determine the situational characteristics of the job or dispositional characteristics of the person that need to be present in order for telecommuters to balance the competing demands of work and family. Data were collected from 686 individuals from over 33 countries using an internet survey. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that both the dispositional variables and situational variables provided a significant increment in variance (36%) in predicting the work/life balance of telecommuters above and beyond those variables determined in previous research to be significant predictors of work/life balance. The model accounted for 41% of the total variance in predicting work/life balance of telecommuters. The control variables gender and age of youngest child living at home were found to be significant predictors of work/life balance. Neuroticism was shown to be the strongest predictor of work/life balance among all the dispositional variables. All of the situational variables were shown to be significant predictors of work/life balance, even after controlling for the demographic variables and the dispositional variables. This study also measured and controlled telecommuting frequency, which has been overlooked in previous research. Exploratory/post-hoc analyses were conducted to directly compare groups with varied telecommuting frequency to determine this outcome on the work/life balance criterion. While the study did not find any significant differences between full-time telecommuters and non-telecommuters in terms of work/life balance, the results did reveal that a curvilinear relationship exists between work/life balance and telecommuting frequency. Specifically, part-time telecommuters scored significantly lower on the work/life balance measure than full-time telecommuters and non-telecommuters who scored similarly. The implications of this finding are discussed.