Clarifying the relationship between work engagement and work interfering with family
Williamson, Rachel Lynn
MetadataShow full item record
Work engagement has received considerable attention in the organizational psychology literature due to its association with a variety of positive outcomes. However, some researchers have suggested that engagement may have a downside. Past research suggests high engagement can result in interference between work and familial roles (i.e., work interfering with family), one form of work-family conflict. Recent research suggests that the positive link between engagement and work interfering with family can be partially explained by the extent to which individuals perform organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) – discretionary, prosocial behaviors that are beneficial for an organization and/or its members. Put simply, engagement leads employees to enact more OCBs, acts that expend resources such as time and energy that could be applied toward familial roles, resulting in higher work interference with family. Furthermore, Halbesleben suggested that the personality trait of conscientiousness may buffer this positive link because conscientious individuals are more likely to take steps to conserve resources. In this dissertation, I argue that the engagement-work interfering with family link may be better specified by differentiating between OCBs enacted at work (OCBW) (e.g., physically being at work while helping a co-worker) and OCBs enacted at home (OCBH) (e.g., physically being home while helping a co-worker). Furthermore, I propose that workaholism – a compulsion to work beyond what is expected or is reasonable – accelerates the extinction of resources via OCBH, thus moderating the link between engagement and work interfering with family. Hypotheses were tested using an experience sampling approach in a sample of 160 working adults utilizing a multilevel moderated mediation model. Results suggest that both OCBW and OCBH mediate the engagement-work interfering with family relationship. Additionally, workaholism increases the positive link between engagement and OCBH relationship, suggesting that the combination of engagement and workaholic tendencies leads to greater OCBH, resulting in more work interfering with family. However, conscientiousness did not significantly moderate the link between OCBW and work interfering with family, possibly due to problems with standard errors of the moderation estimate. Implications for organizations to continue encouraging engagement but limiting the associated behaviors that may lead to increased WIF are discussed.