Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 19–32 | Cite as

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

  • Corinne Post
  • Nancy DiTomaso
  • George F. Farris
  • Rene Cordero
Article

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.

Keywords

Work–family conflict Scientists and engineers Work dissatisfaction Turnover intentions Stress management 

References

  1. Allen, T. D., Herst, D. E. L., Bruck, C. S., & Sutton, M. (2000). Consequences associated with work-to-family conflict: A review and agenda for future research. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5(2), 278–308. doi:10.1037/1076-8998.5.2.278.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aryee, S., Luk, V., & Stone, R. (1998). Family-responsive variables and retention-relevant outcomes among employed parents. Human Relations, 51(1), 73–87.Google Scholar
  3. Aycan, Z., & Eskin, M. (2005). Relative contributions of childcare, spousal support, and organizational support in reducing work–family conflict for men and women: The case of Turkey. Sex Roles, 53(7/8), 453–471. doi:10.1007/s11199-005-7134-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bailyn, L. (1982). Resolving contradictions in technical careers or “What if I like being an engineer?”. Technology Review, 85(8), 40–47.Google Scholar
  5. Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., & Euwema, M. C. (2005). Job resources buffer the impact of job demands on burnout. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 10(2), 170–180. doi:10.1037/1076-8998.10.2.170.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Becker, H. S. (1960). Notes on the concept of commitment. American Journal of Sociology, 66, 32–40. doi:10.1086/222820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Becker, P. E., & Moen, P. (1999). Scaling back: Dual-earner couples’ work–family strategies. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 995–1007. doi:10.2307/354019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bond, J. T., Thompson, C., Galinsky, E., & Protas, D. (2003). The 2002 national study of changing workforce. New York: Families and Work Institute.Google Scholar
  9. Brotheridge, C. M., & Lee, R. T. (2005). Impact of work–family interference on general well-being: A replication and extension. International Journal of Stress Management, 12(3), 203–221. doi:10.1037/1072-5245.12.3.203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Buckley, J. E. (2002). Rankings of full-time occupations by earnings, 2000. Monthly labor review online. Available: http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2002/03/ressum.htm [March, June 15, 2002].
  11. Burke, P. J. (1991). Identity processes and social stress. American Sociological Review, 56(2), 836–849. doi:10.2307/2096259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Carlson, D. S., Kacmar, K. M., & Williams, L. J. (2000). Construction and initial validation of a multidimensional measure of work–family construct. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 56, 249–276. doi:10.1006/jvbe.1999.1713.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carlson, D. S., & Perrewe, P. L. (1999). The role of social support in the stressor-strain relationship: An examination of work–family conflict. Journal of Management, 25(4), 513–540. doi:10.1177/014920639902500403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carsten, J. M., & Spector, P. E. (1987). Unemployment, job satisfaction, and employee turnover: A meta-analytical test of the Muchinsky model. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 72(3), 374–381. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.72.3.374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Catalyst. (1998). Women entrepreneurs: Why companies lose female talent and what they can do about it. New York, NY: Catalyst.Google Scholar
  16. Cohen, A. (1997). Nonwork influences on withdrawal cognitions: An empirical examination of an overlooked issue. Human Relations, 50(12), 1511–1536.Google Scholar
  17. Cohen, A., & Hudecek, N. (1993). Organizational commitment- turnover relationship across occupational groups A meta-analysis. Group & Organization Studies, 18(2), 188–205. doi:10.1177/1059601193182004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cohen, W. M., & Levinthal, D. A. (1990). Absorptive capacity: A new perspective on learning and innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35, 128–152. doi:10.2307/2393553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cole, J. R., & Zuckerman, H. (1987). Marriage, motherhood and research performance in science. Scientific American, 256(2), 119–125.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Crouter, A. C. (1984). Spillover from family to work: The neglected side of the work family interface. Human Relations, 37(6), 425–441. doi:10.1177/001872678403700601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dryburgh, H. (1999). Work hard, play hard: Women and professionalization in engineering–adapting to the culture. Gender & Society, 13(5), 664–682. doi:10.1177/089124399013005006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Eisenhart, M. A., & Finkel, E. (1998). Women’s science: Learning and succeeding from the margins. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  23. Epstein, C. F. (1992). Constraints on excellence: structural and cultural barriers to the recognition and demonstration of achievement. In H. Zuckerman, J. R. Cole, & J. T. Bruer (Eds.), The outer circle: Women in the scientific community (pp. 239–258). New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Fox, M. F. (2005). Gender, family characteristics, and publication productivity among scientists. Social Studies of Science, 35(1), 131–150. doi:10.1177/0306312705046630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fox, M. F., & Faver, C. (1985). Women, men, and publication productivity. The Sociological Quarterly, 26, 537–549. doi:10.1111/j.1533-8525.1985.tb00243.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Frieze, I. H., & Hanusa, B. H. (1984). Women scientists: Overcoming barriers. In M. W. Steinkamp & M. L. Maehr (Eds.), Advances in motivation and achievement (Vol. 2, pp. 139–163). Greenwich: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  27. Frone, M. R. (2000). Work–family conflict and employee psychiatric disorders: The national comorbidity survey. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 85(6), 888–895. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.85.6.888.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Frone, M. R. (2003). Work–family balance. In J. C. Quick & L. E. Tetrick (Eds.), Handbook of occupational health psychology (pp. 143–162). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Frone, M. R., Russell, M., & Barnes, G. M. (1996). Work–family conflict, gender, and health-related outcomes: A study of employed parents in two community samples. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 1, 57–69. doi:10.1037/1076-8998.1.1.57.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Frone, M. R., Russell, M., & Cooper, M. L. (1992). Antecedents and outcomes of work–family conflict: Testing a model of the work–family interface. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 77(1), 65–78. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.77.1.65.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Frone, M. R., Russell, M., & Cooper, M. L. (1995). Relationship of work and family stressors to psychological distress: The independent moderating influence of social support, mastery, active coping, and self-focused attention. In R. Crandall & P. L. Perrewe (Eds.), Occupational stress: A handbook. Washington: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  32. Frone, M. R., Yardley, J. K., & Markel, K. S. (1997). Developing and testing an integrative model of the work–family interface. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 50(2), 145–167. doi:10.1006/jvbe.1996.1577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Goyette, K., & Xie, Y. (1999). The intersection of immigration and gender: Labor force outcomes of immigrant women scientists. Social Science Quarterly, 80(2), 395–408.Google Scholar
  34. Grandey, A. A., Cordeiro, B. L., & Crouter, A. C. (2005). A longitudinal and multi-source test of the work–family conflict and job satisfaction relationship. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 78(3), 305–323. doi:10.1348/096317905X26769.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Grandey, A. A., & Cropanzano, R. (1999). The conservation of resources model applied to work–family conflict and strain. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 54, 350–370. doi:10.1006/jvbe.1998.1666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Greenhaus, J. H., & Beutell, N. J. (1985). Sources of conflict between work and family roles. Academy of Management Review, 19(1), 76–88. doi:10.2307/258214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Greenhaus, J. H., & Parasuraman, S. (1986). A work-nonwork interactive perspective of stress and its consequence. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 8(2), 37–60. doi:10.1300/J075v08n02_04.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Greenhaus, J. H., Parasuraman, S., & Collins, K. M. (2001). Career involvement and family involvement as moderators of relationships between work–family conflict and withdrawal from a profession. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 6, 91–100. doi:10.1037/1076-8998.6.2.91.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Gutek, B. A., Searle, S., & Klepa, L. (1991). Rational versus gender role explanations for work–family conflict. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 76(4), 560–568. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.76.4.560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Haar, J. (2004). Work–Family conflict and turnover intention: Exploring the moderation effects of perceived work–family support. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 33(1), 35–39.Google Scholar
  41. Hall, D. T. (1972). A model of coping with role conflict: the role behavior of college educated women. Administrative Science Quarterly, 17, 471–486. doi:10.2307/2393827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hammer, L. B., Bauer, T. N., & Grandey, A. A. J. (2003). work–family conflict and withdrawal behaviors. Journal of Business and Psychology, 17(3), 419–436. doi:10.1023/A:1022820609967.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hobfoll, S. E. (1989). Conservation of resources: A new attempt at conceptualizing stress. The American Psychologist, 44, 513–524. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.44.3.513.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Hom, P. W., & Griffeth, R. W. (1991). A structural equations modeling test of a turnover theory: Cross sectional and longitudinal analysis. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 76(3), 350–366. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.76.3.350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Hom, P. W., & Kinicki, J. A. (2001). Toward a greater understanding of how dissatisfaction drives employee turnover. Academy of Management Journal, 44(5), 975–987. doi:10.2307/3069441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. House, J. S. (1981). Work stress and social support. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  47. Igbaria, M., Kassicieh, S. K., & Silver, M. (1999). Career orientations and career success among research, and development and engineering professionals. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management JET-M, 16, 29–54. doi:10.1016/S0923-4748(98)00027-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Jacobs, J., & Gerson, K. (1998). Who are the overworked Americans? Review of Social Economy, 56, 442–459.Google Scholar
  49. Kahn, R. L., Wolfe, D. M., Quinn, R. P., & Snoek, J. D. (1964). Organizational Stress: Studies in role conflict and ambiguity. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  50. Keenan, T. (1980). Stress and the professional engineer. In G. L. Cooper & J. Marshall (Eds.), White collar and professional stress (pp. 189–210). New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
  51. Kerr, S., Von Glinow, M. A., & Schriesheim, J. (1977). Issues in the study of “professionals” in organizations: The case of scientists and engineers. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 18, 329–345. doi:10.1016/0030-5073(77)90034-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Kirchmeyer, C., & Cohen, A. (1999). Different strategies for managing the work/non-work interface: A test for unique pathways to outcomes. Work and Stress, 13, 59–73. doi:10.1080/026783799296192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Kowalski, K. B., & Beauvais, L. L. (1999, May 1999). The role of social support at the work–family interface: Development of a conceptual model. Paper presented at the Eastern Academy of Management, Philadelphia, PA.Google Scholar
  54. Kunda, G. (1991). Engineering culture: Control and commitment in a high-tech corporation. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Kyvic, S. (1990). Motherhood and scientific productivity. Social Studies of Science, 20(1), 149–160. doi:10.1177/030631290020001005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Latack, J. C., & Havlovic, S. J. (1992). Coping with job stress: A conceptual evaluation framework for coping measures. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 13, 479–508. doi:10.1002/job.4030130505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  58. Lee, R. T., & Ashforth, B. E. (1996). A meta-analytic examination of the correlates of the three dimensions of job burnout. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 81(2), 123–133. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.81.2.123.Google Scholar
  59. MacEwen, K. E., & Barling, J. (1994). Daily consequences of work interferences with family and family interferences with work. Work and Stress, 8, 244–254. doi:10.1080/02678379408259996.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. McIlwee, J. S., & Robinson, J. G. (1992). Women in engineering: Gender, power, and the workplace culture. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  61. Meiksins, P., & Whalley, P. (2002). Putting work in its place: A quiet revolution. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  62. Meyer, J. P., & Allen, N. J. (1994). Testing the “side-bet theory” of organizational commitment: Some methodological considerations. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 69, 372–378. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.69.3.372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Monat, A., & Lazarus, R. S. (1991). Stress and coping: An anthology (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Moos, R. H., & Schaefer, J. A. (1993). Coping resources and processes: Current concepts and measures. In L. Goldberger & S. Breznitz (Eds.), Handbook of stress: Theoretical and clinical aspects (2nd ed., pp. 234–257). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  65. Morse, M. (1995). Women changing science: Voices from a field in transition. New York, NY: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  66. National Science Foundation. (2000). Land of plenty: Diversity as America’s competitive edge in science, engineering, and technology: Congressional Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering, and Technology Development.Google Scholar
  67. Netemeyer, R. G., Boles, J. S., & McMurrian, R. (1996). Development and validation of work–family conflict and family–work conflict scales. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 81(4), 400–410. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.81.4.400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. O’Reilly, C. A. (1991). Organizational behavior: where we’ve been, where we’re going. Annual Review of Psychology, 42, 427–458. doi:10.1146/annurev.ps.42.020191.002235.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. OECD. (2001). OECD science, technology, and industry scoreboard 2001—toward a knowledge-based economy. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  70. Orthner, D. K., & Pittman, J. F. (1986). Family contributions to work commitment. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 48, 573–581. doi:10.2307/352043.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Parasuraman, S. (1982). Predicting turnover intentions and turnover behavior: A multivariate analysis. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 21, 111–121. doi:10.1016/0001-8791(82)90056-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Pearlin, L. I., & Schooler, C. (1978). The structure of coping. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 19(March), 2–21. doi:10.2307/2136319.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Pedhazur, E. J. (1982). Multiple regression in behavioral research: Explanation and prediction. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  74. Pedhazur, E. J., & Schmelkin, L. P. (1991). Measurement, design, and analysis: An integrated approach. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  75. Perlow, L. A. (1997). Finding time. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  76. Pleck, J.H., Staines, G.L., & Lang, L. (1980). Conflict between work and family. Monthly Labor Review, 103(3), 29–31.Google Scholar
  77. Preacher, K. J., & Leonardelli, G. J. (2003). Calculation for the Sobel test: An interactive calculation tool for mediation tests. Available: http://www.unc.edu/~preacher/sobel/sobel.htm, [2006, June 5; 2005, September 1].
  78. Preston, A. E. (2004). Leaving science: Occupational exit from scientific careers. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  79. Rice, R. W., Frone, M. R., & McFarlin, D. B. (1992). Work–non-work conflict and the perceived quality of life. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 13, 155–168. doi:10.1002/job.4030130205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Rogers, E. M., & Larsen, J. K. (1984). Silicon valley fever: Growth of high-technology culture. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  81. Schafer, R. B., Wickrama, K. A. S., & Keith, P. M. (1996). Self-concept disconfirmation, psychological distress, and marital happiness. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58(1), 167–177. doi:10.2307/353385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Schiebinger, L. (1999). Has feminism changed science?. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  83. Schlenker, B. R. (1987). Threats to identity: Self-identification and social stress. In C. R. Snyder & C. E. Ford (Eds.), Clinical and social psychological perspectives (pp. 273–321). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  84. Sekaran, U., & Hall, D. T. (1989). Asynchronism in dual-career and family linkages. In M. B. Arthur, D. T. Hall, & B. S. Lawrence (Eds.), Handbook on career theory (pp. 159–180). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  85. Seymour, E., & Hewitt, N. M. (1994). Talking about leaving: Factors contributing to high attrition rates among science, mathematics, and engineering undergraduate majors. Boulder: Bureau of Sociological Research, University of Colorado.Google Scholar
  86. Sheldon, M. E. (1971). Investment and involvement as mechanisms producing commitment to the organization. Administrative Science Quarterly, 16(2), 143–150. doi:10.2307/2391824.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Shellenbarger, S. (1999, November 17, 1999). What job candidates really want to know: Will I have a life? Wall Street Journal, p. B1.Google Scholar
  88. Sindermann, C. J. (1982). Winning the games scientists play. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  89. Skinner, D. A. (1984). Dual-career family stress and coping. In P. Voydanoff (Ed.), Work and family: Changing roles of men and women (pp. 261–271). Palo Alto, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  90. Soat, D. M. (1996). Managing engineers and technical employees: How to attract, motivate, and retain excellent people. Boston: Artech House.Google Scholar
  91. Staines, G. L. (1980). Spillover versus compensation: A review of the literature on the relationship between work and nonwork. Human Relations, 33(3), 111–129. doi:10.1177/001872678003300203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Staw, B. M. (1984). Organizational behavior: A review and reformulation of the field’s outcome variables. Annual Review of Psychology, 35, 627–666. doi:10.1146/annurev.ps.35.020184.003211.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  93. Suran, J. J. (1990). A view from the other side. IEEE Spectrum, 27(9), 52–54. doi:10.1109/6.58458.Google Scholar
  94. Tang, J. (2000). Doing engineering: The career attainment and mobility of Caucasian, Black and Asian-American engineers. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  95. Thomas, L. T., & Ganster, D. C. (1995). Impact of family-supportive work variables on work–family conflict and strain: A control perspective. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 80(1), 6–15. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.80.1.6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Thompson, J. A., & Van de Ven, A. H. (2002). Commitment shift during organizational upheaval: Physicians’ transitions from private practitioner to employee. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 60(3), 382–404. doi:10.1006/jvbe.2001.1819.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Varma, R. (2000). Changing research cultures in the US. Science, Technology & Human Values, 25(4), 395–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. von Krogh, G., Nonaka, I., & Nishiguchi, T. (2000). Knowledge creation: A source of value. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  99. Wallace, J. E. (1997). Becker’s side-bet theory of commitment revisited: Is it time for a moratorium or a resurrection? Human Relations, 50(6), 727–799.Google Scholar
  100. Whitney, M. J., & Cooper, W. H. (1989). Predicting exit, voice, neglect, and loyalty. Administrative Science Quarterly, 34, 521–539. doi:10.2307/2393565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Wilkinson, R. K. (1998). Employment of scientists and engineers reaches 3.2 million in 1995 (NSF 98–325). Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.Google Scholar
  102. Williams, E. S., Konrad, T. R., Scheckler, W. E., Pathman, D. E., Mark, L., McMurray, J., Gerrity, M., & Schwartz, M. (2000). The effects of job satisfaction and perceived stress on the physical and mental health and withdraw intentions of physicians. Paper presented at the the 50th Academy of Management Meeting, Toronto, Canada.Google Scholar
  103. Yan, S.-L. (1999). The status of Asian American women scientists and engineers in the labor force. Race, Gender, & Class, 6(3), 109–124.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Corinne Post
    • 1
  • Nancy DiTomaso
    • 2
  • George F. Farris
    • 2
  • Rene Cordero
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Business & EconomicsLehigh UniversityBethlehemUSA
  2. 2.Department of Management and Global Business, Rutgers Business School—Newark and New Brunswick, Rutgers, Faculty of ManagementThe State University of New JerseyNewarkUSA
  3. 3.School of ManagementNew Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)NewarkUSA

Personalised recommendations