Supervisor relationships and perceptions of work–family conflict

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Brunetto, Y, Farr-Wharton, R, Ramsay, S, & Shacklock, K 2010, 'Supervisor relationships and perceptions of work–family conflict', Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 212-232.

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Social capital theory (SCT) is used as a lens for operationalising the impact of one type of workplace relationship — the supervisor—subordinate relationship (measured using leader—member exchange (LMX)) — upon employees’ perceptions of work—family conflict (WFC) and in turn, job satisfaction. The analysis distinguishes between different types of employees (professional and non-professional) within different work contexts (public and private sector). A cross-sectional survey design was used to collect data from a sample of 180 police officers and 1064 nurses (898 private sector and 344 public sector employees).

The findings show that the supervisor—subordinate relationship predicted 43.3% of police officers’ perception of WFC, but only 2.9% of nurses’ perception. Moreover, 33.46% of the variance of job satisfaction was explained by employees’ perception of LMX and WFC, although the impact was stronger for police officers in particular and public sector employees in general. The implication is that organisations will benefit from promoting effective workplace supervisor—subordinate relationships.

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