, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 19-32
Date: 19 Feb 2009

Work–Family Conflict and Turnover Intentions Among Scientists and Engineers Working in R&D

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Abstract

Purpose

In this study we evaluate competing models of the direct and indirect effects of work interference with family (WIF) and family interference with work (FIW) on two turnover intentions relevant to scientists and engineers: (i) leaving R&D for non-R&D work within the same organization and (ii) leaving one’s organization for another one.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional design was used. Our sample consists of almost 500 scientists and engineers in dual-earner families and with dependent care responsibilities.

Findings

We find some support for the domain-specific predictors-to-outcomes model: FIW indirectly (but not directly) increases intentions to change organization through work dissatisfaction. Contrary to expectations from the stress management model we find neither direct nor indirect relationships between WIF and turnover intentions.

Implications

Our findings suggest that organizations that help employees manage the effects of FIW on work dissatisfaction may be able to reduce the turnover among their technical workforce.

Originality/value

The study examines an overlooked outcome of work-family conflict: turnover intentions. In addition, it provides much needed attention to the implications of workfamily conflict for scientists and engineers, who have received little attention in the work-family conflict literature despite longstanding efforts to understand the relationship between marriage, parenthood, and productivity in these fields.

Received and reviewed by former editor, George Neuman.