Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to advance the understanding of both directions of work‐family conflict (WFC), work interference with family (WIF) and family interference with work (FIW) in an Eastern culture. Findings are compared with those of 14 other Western studies and the relationships among WIF, FIW and job, family, community and life satisfaction are explored. Design/methodology/approach – This study is conducted in Malaysia, a country with Islam as the official religion. Data are obtained from 506 employees in three public and three private sector organizations. Questionnaires are distributed via human resource managers. Findings – Results show that similar to Western studies, WIF scores are higher than FIW scores. Malaysians are significantly lower on WIF than Westerners. Nevertheless, Malaysians score significantly higher on FIW than all Western samples. Within the Malaysian sample, FIW also has a stronger negative relationship with all facets of satisfaction and WIF has a positive relationship with family satisfaction. Research limitations/implications – Cross‐sectional data are presented which could result in common method bias. Practical implications – Organizations can assist in minimizing WIF and FIW by providing family‐friendly policies and parenting related programmes. The importance of family in an individual's life in Eastern cultures is different than in Western cultures. Therefore multi‐national companies operating in Eastern settings would be well‐advised to take cultural aspects such as collectivism into consideration. Originality/value – The study provides insights into Eastern experiences of WIF and FIW compared with Western experiences. The study expands previous studies by measuring both directions of WFC and employing a heterogeneous sample (e.g. not just female, those married, those with children).
Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 9, 2010
Keywords: Malaysia; Collectivism; Employee behaviour; Job satisfaction; Family life
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