Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Walter C. Borman, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Tammy D. Allen, Ph.D.

Keywords

Psychological contract, Work-family conflict, Individualism-collectivism, China, Mediation

Abstract

This study aims to further understand the mechanisms through which work interference with family (WIF) influences important attitudinal, behavioral, and well-being outcomes. First, the study expands the content of employees' psychological contract through creating a measure of Work-Family Psychological Contract Breach (WFPCB). The study also examines the mediating role of WFPCB in the relations between WIF and work-related outcomes. Finally, the study explores potential cultural influences by looking at the moderating role of individualism-collectivism on the relations between WIF and WFPCB as well as between WFPCB and the outcomes. Research was carried out in three stages: 1) telephone interviews were conducted to understand the content of work-family psychological contract; 2) the WFPCB measure was piloted; and 3) a final survey study was carried out to test the main hypotheses. Data were collected in both the U.S.

and China, resulting in 20 participants each for the interview study, over 60 participants each for the pilot study and over 200 respondents each for the final stage. Support was found in both samples for the link between WIF and WFPCB, and some of the direct paths with the outcomes, especially the attitudinal variables. Full mediation effect of WFPCB was found for organizational commitment in the U.S. and for job satisfaction in China. Evidence for partial mediation was also found for the other attitudinal variables. The moderating role of individualism-collectivism at the individual level was only found in the Chinese sample for organizational commitment, such that the negative relationship between WIF and commitment was stronger when individualism was high. A country comparison of the hypothesized direct effect was posed as research questions.

The present study contributes to the psychological contract and work-family literature by introducing the psychological contract theory and shedding some light on the potential mechanism through which work interference with family affects important outcomes such as employee job attitudes and well-being.

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