At some point in our careers, we have all experienced something that is referred to as a Work-Family Conflict. The best way to describe this, and in the simplest terms, is that issues at home are taking a person's attention away from work or situations at work are taking a person's attention away from home. In my current occupation I teach new Naval Aviators how to fly the MH-60 Romeo Helicopter which requires the full concentration of all the instructors. But when issues either at work or at home interfere with an instructor's ability to safety fly and teach others how to fly this advanced helicopter, bad things can happen.
One of my instructors is currently having personal problems at home. At first we noticed a change in his normal demeanor followed by a reduced motivation to stay actively involved in our student's progression. When taken off to the side, this particular individual mentioned that his wife announced that she wanted a divorce because he was unwilling to switch family roles at home. Briefly stated, she wanted him to stay home and for her to go to work and be the bread winner. Unfortunately, this instructor had just re-enlisted in the Navy for another 6 years which would make this role reversal next to impossible in the near future but it also conflicts with his personal family values. Now this conflict explains the change in behavior many of us had noticed as well as describes a significant work-life conflict. To be more specific, this is a perfect example of Perrewe and Hochwarter's Value-Based Model of Work-Family Conflict.
This model, developed by Pamela L Perrewe and Wayne A Hochwarter, discusses the various influences that affect job and life satisfaction. On the left of the model are the general life values feeding into a person's family-related values and work-related values. Family values involve enduring beliefs about the importance of family and who should play key family roles
[...] Of course three weeks of leave and a couple of counseling sessions is not enough to heal his particular Work-Family conflict, it was a step in the right direction. According to our last Human Factors Board, I am pleased to announce that he and his wife have decided to stay together and have made arrangements for child care of their children while his wife looks for a job. Of course being a Naval Aviator, this also came with a little compromise on the part of the Navy. [...]
[...] When taken off to the side, this particular individual mentioned that his wife announced that she wanted a divorce because he was unwilling to switch family roles at home. Briefly stated, she wanted him to stay home and for her to go to work and be the bread winner. Unfortunately, this instructor had just re-enlisted in the Navy for another 6 years which would make this role reversal next to impossible in the near future but it also conflicts with his personal family values. [...]
[...] References Kinicki, A., & Kreitner, R. (2009). Organizational Behavior: Key concepts, skills & best practices (customized 4th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin. [...]
[...] These four general life values could, and does in this case with one of my instructors, cause a Work-Family conflict which was described as two distinct forms: “work interference with family and family interference with work.” (Kinicki & Kreitner p167). Further on into the model, we finally come to Value Attainment and Job and Life Satisfaction. Ideally, we would love for there to be little to know conflict both at work and at home, and that my instructors can obtain a high Value Attainment (job satisfaction) before getting to that Work-Life balance. However, when there is a conflict with one, either personal or professional, both can suffer as in this case. [...]
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