Higher Education

, Volume 68, Issue 5, pp 669–690 | Cite as

Work–family balance: perspectives from higher education

  • Soma Pillay
  • Subhash Abhayawansa


The article examines different types of work–family pressures amongst people working within the Australian university sector. We were specifically interested in work–family experiences between domestic and migrant Australians. Among the major findings, domestic Australians experience greater levels of work–family imbalance across most of the measures used. Limitations and implications for future research are discussed.


Work Family Migrant Australia Higher education University 


  1. Access Economics. (2005). Workforce participation in Victoria. Victoria: Department of Victorian Communities.Google Scholar
  2. Adams, G., King, L., & King, D. (1996). Relationships of job and family involvement, family social support, and work–family conflict with job and life satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81(4), 411–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Albertsen, K., Persson, R., Garde, A., & Rugulies, R. (2010). Psychosocial determinants of work-to-family conflict among knowledge workers with boundary-less work. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 2(2), 160–181.Google Scholar
  4. Allen, T. D., Herst, D. E. L., Bruck, C. S., & Sutton, M. (2000). Consequences associated with work-to-family conflict. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5(2), 278–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Allvin, M. (2008). New rules of work: Exploring the boundary-less job. In K. Nässwall, J. Hellgren, & M. Sverke (Eds.), The individual in the changing working life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Anderson, D., Morgan, B., & Wilson, J. (2002). Perceptions of family-friendly policies: University versus corporate employees. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 23(1), 73–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Aryee, S., Fields, D., & Luk, V. (1999). A cross-cultural test of a model of the work–family interface. Journal of Management, 25(4), 491–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2010). Migration Australia 20082009. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Cat. No. 3412.0, viewed on October 20, 2010.Google Scholar
  9. Barling, J., Kelloway, K., & Frone, M. (2004). Handbook of work stress. London: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
  10. Barnett, R., & Rivers, C. (1996). SheWorks/HeWorks: How two-income families are happier, healthier, and better-off. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  11. Baruch, Y. (1995). Business globalization: The human resource management aspect. Human Systems Management, 14, 313–326.Google Scholar
  12. Beutell, N., & Wittig-Berma, U. (1999). Predictors of work–family conflict and satisfaction with family, job, career, and life. Psychological Reports, 85(3), 893–903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Boyar, S. L., Maertz, C. P, Jr, Mosley, D. C, Jr, & Carr, J. C. (2008). The impact of work/family demand on work–family conflict. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23(3), 215–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Boyar, S., Maertz, C, Jr, & Pearson, A. (2005). The effects of work–family conflict and family-work conflict on non-attendance behaviors. Journal of Business Research, 58, 919–925.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brislin, R. W., & Kim, E. S. (2003). Cultural diversity in people’s understanding and uses of time. Applied Psychology, 52(3), 363–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Burke, R. (1988). Some antecedents and consequences of work–family conflict. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 3(4), 287–302.Google Scholar
  17. Burke, R., & Greenglass, E. (2001). Hospital restructuring, work–family conflict and burnout among nursing staff. Psychology and Health, 16, 583–594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Clark, S. (2000). Work/family border theory: A new theory of work/family balance. Human Relations, 53(6), 747–770.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Colic-Peisker, V., & Tilbury, F. (2007). Integration into the Australian Labour Market: The experience of three “visibly different” groups of recently arrived refugees. International Migration, 45(1), 59–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cummins, H. (2005). Mommy tracking single women in academia when they are not mommies. Women’s Studies International Forum, 28(2/3), 222–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Currie, J., Harris, P., & Thiele, B. (2000). Sacrifices in greedy institutions: are they gendered? Gender and Education, 12(3), 269–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Damiano-Teixeira, K. (2006). Managing conflicting roles: A qualitative study with female faculty members. Journal of Family and Economical Issues, 27(2), 310–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Doherty, L., & Manfredi, S. (2006). Action research to develop work-life balance in a UK University. Women in Management Review, 21(3), 241–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Duxbury, L., & Higgins, C. (1991). Gender differences in work–family conflict. Journal of Applied Psychology, 76(1), 60–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Eliou, M. (1991). Women in the academic profession: Evolution or stagnation. In G. Kelly & S. Slaughter (Eds.), Women’s higher education in comparative perspective. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publisher.Google Scholar
  26. Frone, M., Russell, M., & Barnes, G. (1996). Work–family conflict, gender, and health-related outcomes: A study of employed parents in two community samples. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 1(1), 57–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Frone, M. R., Russell, M., & Cooper, M. (1992). Antecedents and outcomes of work–family conflict: Testing a model of the work–family interface. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77(1), 65–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Frone, M., Yardley, J., & Markel, K. (1997). Developing and testing an integrative model of the work–family interface. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 50(2), 145–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Goff, S., Mount, M., & Jamison, R. (1990). Employer supported child care, work/family conflict, and absenteeism: A field study. Personnel Psychology, 43(4), 793–809.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Googins, B. K. (1997). ‘Shared responsibility for managing work and family relationships: A community perspective. In S. Parasuraman & J. H. Greenhaus (Eds.), Integrating work and family: Challenges and choices for a changing world (pp. 220–231). Westport, CT: Quorum.Google Scholar
  31. Greenhaus, J. H., & Beutell, N. J. (1985). Sources of conflict between work and family roles. Academy of Management Review, 10(1), 77.Google Scholar
  32. Greenhaus, J. H., & Parasuraman, S. (1986). A work, non-work interactive perspective of stress and its consequences. Journal of Organisational Behaviour Management, 8(2), 37–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Greenhaus, J. H., & Parasuraman, S. (1994). Work family conflict, social support and wellbeing. In M. J. Davidson & R. J. Burke (Eds.), Women in management: Current research issues (pp. 213–229). London: Paul Chapman.Google Scholar
  34. Grzywacz, J., Arcury, T., Marin, A., Carrillo, L., Burke, B., Coates, M., et al. (2007). Work–family conflict, experiences and health implications among immigrant Latinos. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(4), 1119–1130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Grzywacz, J., Quandt, S., & Arcury, T. (2008). Immigrant farmworkers health-related quality of life. Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health, 14(1), 79–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Gutek, B., Searle, S., & Klepa, L. (1991). Rational versus gender role explanations for work–family conflict. Journal of Applied Psychology, 76(4), 560–568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hardy, I. (2010). Academic architectures: academic perceptions of teaching conditions in an Australian university. Studies in Higher Education, 35(4), 391–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hassan, Z., Dollard, M. F., & Winefield, A. H. (2010). Work–family conflict in East vs Western countries. Cross Cultural Management, 17(1), 30–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hepburn, C., & Barling, L. (1996). Eldercare responsibilities, inter-role conflict, and employee absence: a daily study. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 1(3), 311–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hill, E. J., Erickson, J. J., Holmes, E. K., & Ferris, M. (2010). Workplace flexibility, work hours, and work-life conflict: Finding an extra day or two. Journal of Family Psychology, 24(3), 349–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hill, E., Yang, C., Hawkins, A., & Ferris, M. (2004). A cross-cultural test of the work–family interface in 48 countries. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(5), 1300–1316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ho, C. (2006). Migration as feminisation? Chinese women’s experiences of work and family in Australia. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 32(3), 497–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  44. Hofstede, G. (1991). Cultures and organisations. London: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  45. Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviours, institutions, and organizations across nations (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  46. Hogan, R., & McKnight, M. (2007). Exploring burnout among university online instructors: An initial investigation. Internet and Higher Education, 10(2), 117–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hooff, M., Geurts, S., Kompier, M., & Taris, T. (2007). Workdays, in-between workdays, and the weekend: A diary study on effort and recovery. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 80(7), 599–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Jacobs, J., & Winslow, S. (2004). Overworked faculty: Job stresses and family demands. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 596(1), 104–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Jones, E., & Butler, M. (1980). A role transition approach to the stresses of organisationally-induced family role disruptions. Journal of Marriage and Family, 42, 367–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Joplin, J., Shaffer, M., Francesco, A., & Lau, T. (2003). The macro environment and work family conflict: Development of a cross-cultural framework. International Journal of Cross-cultural Management, 3, 305–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Kahn, R. L., Wolfe, D., Quinn, R., Snoek, J. D., & Rosenthal, R. A. (1964). Organizational stress: Studies in role conflict and ambiguity. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  52. Karasek, R. (1979). Job demands, job decision latitude, and mental strain: Implications for job redesign. Administrative Science Quarterly, 24(2), 285–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Kelly, G., & Slaughter, S. (1991). Women’s higher education in comparative perspective. In G. Kelly & S. Slaughter (Eds.), Women’s higher education in comparative perspective. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Kinsella, K. & He, W. (2009). An aging world: 2008. U.S. Census Bureau: International Population Reports. Retrieved November 16, 2009 from
  55. Kline, P. (2000). The handbook of psychological testing (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  56. Kopelman, R. E., Greenhaus, J. H., & Connolly, T. F. (1983). A model of work, family, and interrole conflict: A construct validation study. Organizational behaviour and human performance, 32(2), 198–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Kossek, E., & Ozeki, C. (1998). Work–family conflict, policies, and the job life satisfaction relationship: A review and direction for organisational behaviour-human resource research. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83(2), 139–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Kossek, E., & Ozeki, C. (1999). Bridging the work–family policy and productivity gap: A literature review. Community Work and Family, 2(1), 7–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Kun, J. (2007). Work and family balance manual—Working families program. Victoria: Industrial Relations Victoria.Google Scholar
  60. Lackritsz, J. (2004). Exploring burnout among university faculty: Incidence, performance, and demographic issues. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20(1), 713–729.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Lee, E. S., Chang, J. Y., & Kim, H. (2011). The work–family interface in Korea: Can family life enrich work life? The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 22, 2032–2053.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Lee, C., & Hui, C. (1999). Antecedents and outcomes of work–family interface. Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, 7(1), 35–51.Google Scholar
  63. Malach-Pines, A., Hammer, L., & Neal, M. (2009). “Sandwiched generation” couples: A cross-cultural, cross-gender comparison. Pratiques Psychologiques, 15(2), 225–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Michel, J. S., Mitchelson, J. K., Kotrba, L. M., LeBreton, J. M., & Baltes, B. B. (2009). A comparative test of work–family conflict models and critical examination of work–family linkages. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 74(2), 199–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Michel, J. S., Mitchelson, J. K., Pichler, S., & Cullen, K. L. (2010). Clarifying relationships among work and family social support, stressors, and work–family conflict. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 76(1), 91–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Mortazavi, S., Pedhiwala, N., Shafiro, M., & Hammer, L. (2009). Work–family conflict related to culture and gender. Community, Work & Family, 12(2), 251–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Netemeyer, R., Boles, J., & McMurrian, R. (1996). Development and validation of Work–family conflict and family-work conflict scales. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81(4), 400–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Nicholls, G. (2005). New lecturers’ constructions of learning, teaching and research in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 30(5), 611–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Office of Legislative Drafting, Publishing. (2009). Fair Work Act of 2009: Act No. 28 of 2009 as Amended. Canberra: Attorney-General’s Department.Google Scholar
  70. O’Laughlin, E., & Bischoff, L. (2005). Balancing parenthood and academica: Work/family stress as influenced by gender and tenure status. Journal of Family Issues, 26(1), 79–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Parasuraman, S., & Greenhaus, J. H. (2007). Towards reducing some critical gaps in work-family research. Human Resource Management Review, 12, 299–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Parasuraman, S., Purohit, Y., & Godshalk, V. (1996). Work and family variables, entrepreneurial career success, and psychological well-being. Journal of Vocational Behaviour, 48(3), 275–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Pleck, J. H., Staines, G. L., & Lang, L. (1980). Conflicts between work and family life. Monthly Lab. Review, 103, 29.Google Scholar
  74. Poposki, E. M. (2011). The blame game: Exploring the nature and correlates of attributions following work–family conflict. Group and Organization Management, 36(4), 499–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Probert, B. (2005). I just couldn’t fit it in’: Gender and unequal outcomes in academic careers. Gender, Work and Organization, 12(1), 50–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Richardson, S., Robertson, F., & Illsley, D. (2001). The labour force experiences of new migrants. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.Google Scholar
  77. Roehling, P. V., Roehling, M. V., & Moen, P. (2001). The relationship between work life policies and practices and employee loyalty: A life course perspective. Journal of Family and Economic, 22, 141–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Santos, G., & Cabral-Cardoso, C. (2008). Work–family culture in academia: a gendered view of work–family conflict and coping strategies. An International Journal, 23(6), 442–457.Google Scholar
  79. Schieman, S., & Glavin, P. (2008). Trouble at the border? Gender, flexible work conditions, and the work-home interface. Social Problems, 55, 590–611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Schieman, S., & Young, M. (2010). The demands of creative work: Implications for stress in the work–family interface. Social Science Research, 39, 246–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Schor, N. (2003). The supportive academic environment: Ingredients for success. Pediatric Neurology, 29(5), 370–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Spector, P. E., Cooper, C. L., Poelmans, S., Allen, T. D., O’Driscoll, M., Sanchez, J. I., et al. (2004). ‘A cross national comparative study of Work–family stressors, working hours, and well being: China and Latin America vs The Anglo World. Personnel Psychology, 57, 119–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Thomas, L., & Ganster, D. (1995). Impact of family-supportive work variables on Work–family conflict and strain: A control perspective. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80(1), 6–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. VandenHeuvel, A., & Wooden, M. (2000). Immigrants’ labour market experiences in the early settlement years. Australian Bulletin of Labour, 26(1), 59–69.Google Scholar
  85. Voydanoff, P. (2007). Work, family, and community: Exploring interconnections. Mahwah, NJ: Routledge.Google Scholar
  86. Wall, K., & José, J. (2004). Managing work and care: A difficult challenge for immigrant families. Social Policy and Administration, 38(6), 591–621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Wharton, A. S., & Blair-Loy, M. (2002). The overtime culture in a global corporation: A cross national study of finance professionals’ interest in working part-time. Work and Occupations, 29(1), 32–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Witt, S., & Lovrich, N. (1988). Sources of stress among faculty: Gender differences. The Review of Higher Education, 11(3), 269–284.Google Scholar
  89. Woodward, D. (2007). Work–life balancing strategies used by women managers in British “modern” universities. Equal Opportunities International, 26(1), 6–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Yang, N., Chen, C., Choi, J., & Zou, Y. (2000). Sources of work–family conflict: a Sino-US comparison of the effects of work and family demands. Academy of Management Journal, 43(1), 113–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Federation UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Business and EnterpriseSwinburne University of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations