Graduation Year

2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Tammy D. Allen, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Walter C. Borman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Vicky Phares, Ph.D.

Keywords

work-family benefits, flextime, flexplace, need for achievement, need for affiliation, need for structure, need for segmentation

Abstract

Changes in the workforce have led to in an increase in work-family conflict for many employed individuals. Fortunately, many organizations have recognized and responded to employees’ work-family issues through the implementation of family-friendly benefits, such as flexible work arrangements (FWA).

While offering family-friendly benefits is an important step in easing work-family conflicts, the mere availability of such initiatives may not be enough, as research shows that availability of benefits and utilization are only moderately correlated. These statistics highlight the presence of intermediating factors in the relationship between availability and utilization of family-friendly benefits. With this in mind, some researchers have examined the role of organizational factors in inhibiting benefit use. Although these organizational variables are essential in understanding the relationship between availability and use of flexible benefits, they neglect an important factor – the role that the individual may play in deciding whether to take advantage of these policies. With the exception of general demographic information, only one known study (Butler et al., 2004) has investigated the influence of an individual difference psychological factor in predicting benefit use.

The current study addresses this gap in the literature by testing the influence of

individual differences on FWA utilization. The study focuses on individual differences in four need-based motivational factors, need for affiliation at work, need for structure in the workplace, need for segmentation of work from other life roles, and need for occupational achievement, on flextime and flexplace usage. Furthermore, because FWA policies involve altering physical presence at work, a situational variable that involves the same dynamics, value of "face-time" within an organization, was examined as a moderator in each these relationships. Participants were 238 faculty members at a large research university. Results showed that the need for segmentation and the need for structure were negatively related to flextime and flexplace use, and the need for achievement and need for affiliation were not significantly related to either FWA. Face-time orientation did not significantly moderate any of these relationships. Theoretical and practical implications, as well as future directions, are discussed.

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