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Framing the work-life relationship: understanding the role of boundaries, context and fit

Basile, Kelly (2014) Framing the work-life relationship: understanding the role of boundaries, context and fit. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This dissertation presents four papers that seek to make theoretical and practical contributions to the literature on work-life boundary management. Specifically, this research explores new relationships between boundary antecedents, moderators and outcomes, tests the impact of different working arrangements, and uses multiple research methods in order to add to our understanding of how we can manage work-life boundaries in such a way that better work-life outcomes are recognized. The research makes contributions to three areas of work-life literature. First, this research contributes to literature on work–life boundary management by redefining the role of permeability as an essential mechanism by which boundaries can influence work-life outcomes. Using survey and daily diary data with homeworkers in the UK, this research suggests that permeability is a moderator that influences the impact of segmenting and integrating employment practices on work-life outcomes. Further, this dissertation also provides evidence to support the idea that the employment context in an important consideration when considering boundary management. Using qualitative and quantitative research conducted in both highly segmented and highly integrated work environments this research has underscored the importance of considering that boundary strategies are not 'one size fits all’. This dissertation also contributes to the growing body of literature that examines the relationship between individual preferences for integration or segmentation and the resources provided by their work environment. Drawing on Person-Environment Fit (Edwards, 1996, Rothbard, 2005) the research uses polynomial regression and response surface analysis to examine boundary management among employees working off-shore versus those in traditional office-based roles. ‘Fit’, as well as ‘misfit’ between segmentation-preference and segmentation-supply and the resulting impact on work-life outcomes is examined. Last, this research also makes a contribution to the literature that connects the Job Demands-Resources Model to the work-life interface (Demerouti et al., 2001). Drawing on Boundary and Border Theories (Zerubavel, 1991, Clark, 2000), this research uses data from a daily diary study of homeworkers to examine daily predictors and outcomes of boundary strength. In addition, the data demonstrate that boundary permeability acts a moderator that regulates the impact of job demands and resources, apart from just segmenting and integrating working practices, on work-life outcomes and well-being. Together, these papers reflect the importance of examining work/non-work boundaries through the lens of individual and organisational difference and allow us to better understand the mechanisms which can be used to better manage these boundaries.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Kelly Basile
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Sets: Departments > Management
Supervisor: Beauregard, Alexandra

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