Connecting work-family conflict and enrichment through an understanding of the intersection between stress and motivation: Differentiating demands and proactive resource accumulation

Heidi M Baumann, Purdue University


Past research has demonstrated support for both the negative (i.e., work-family conflict) and the positive (i.e., work-family enrichment) sides of the work-family interface, but an understanding of how work-family conflict and enrichment are connected is still not fully understood. The current research looks to further our knowledge of the nature of this connection both conceptually and empirically. To do this, I draw on the extant work-family literature to suggest that resources are a connecting factor between conflict and enrichment. Following this, I integrate research on the work-family interface with conservation of resources theory and self-determination theory to discuss how conflict and enrichment operate as part of stress and motivational processes, respectively. I suggest that we can better understand the connection between work-family conflict and enrichment by examining conditions that have variations of stress and motivational implications related to resources. Accordingly, I propose and test two models, a differentiated demands model and a proactive resource accumulation model, and discuss their relevance for both work-family conflict and enrichment. The hypothesized relationships were tested on a sample of 205 full-time employees who were married or cohabitating with a significant other. Significant other ratings of certain study variables were also obtained for 118 of these employees. The results support the notion that resources are a connecting factor between conflict and enrichment. The findings also suggest that work-family enrichment does in fact operate as part of an autonomously motivated process, and some support is found for the premise that antecedents having both stress and motivational implications will demonstrate relationships with both conflict and enrichment. The details of these findings are presented in the results section.




Wilson, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Organizational behavior

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