Work–Life Balance in the Police: The Development of a Self-Management Competency Framework
Addressing a gap in the current work–life balance (WLB) literature regarding individual-focused approaches to inform interventions, we elicited behaviors used to self-manage WLB to draw up a competency-based WLB framework for relevant learnable knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs; Hoffmann, Eur J Ind Train 23:275–285, 1999) and mapping this against extant WLB frameworks.
Our participants were from a major UK police force, which faces particular challenges to the work–life interface through job demands and organizational cutbacks, covering a range of operational job roles, including uniformed officers and civilian staff. We took a mixed methods approach starting with semi-structured interviews to elicit 134 distinct behaviors (n = 20) and used a subsequent card sort task (n = 10) to group these into categories into 12 behavioral themes; and finally undertook an online survey (n = 356) for an initial validation.
Item and content analysis reduced the behaviors to 58, which we analyzed further. A framework of eight competencies fits the data best; covering a range of strategies, including Boundary Management, Managing Flexibility, and Managing Expectations.
The WLB self-management KSAs elicited consist of a range of solution-focused behaviors and strategies, which could inform future WLB-focused interventions, showing how individuals may negotiate borders effectively in a specific environment.
A competence-based approach to WLB self-management is new, and may extend existing frameworks such as Border Theory, highlighting a proactive and solution-focused element of effective behaviors.
KeywordsWork–life balance Self-management Competencies KSAs
The authors gratefully acknowledge Rachel Avery, Céline Rojon, and the anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments on earlier drafts.
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