Presentation Title

Accommodating Employees Experiencing Work-Life Conflict: An Examination of Supervisors’ Decision Making Processes

Advisor Information

Lisa Scherer

Location

UNO Criss Library, Room 225

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

6-3-2015 1:15 PM

End Date

6-3-2015 1:30 PM

Abstract

Supervisors play a critical role in helping employees balance work and family demands, yet only a handful of studies have emphasized the importance of supervisors and their decision making discretion in addressing the many unpredictable life events giving rise to work-family conflict (Clark, 2002; Wells, 2011). In effort to bridge this gap in research, we investigated how supervisors process employee requests for accommodations. Using a mixed-method approach, we also examined whether supervisor assumptions and thought processes influence their choice. Supervisors reviewed a hypothetical problem in which they were asked to grant time off to one of three employees. Following their decision, we asked them to provide rationale for how they arrived at their decision. We also explored whether supervisor gender influenced their decision making, particularly as it related to accommodating a male versus a female parent as much research suggests important gender differences in leadership styles and values (e.g., Frame, Roberto, Schwab, & Harris, 2010; Snipes, Oswald, & Caudill, 1998). Results showed that the decisions of some supervisors were primarily driven by criteria such as perceptions of subordinate deservingness and sympathy toward their nonwork needs. Additionally, analyses demonstrated that both supervisor gender and employee gender influenced judgments of who was chosen for accommodation, indicating evidence of a gendered perspective regarding the roles of mothers versus fathers.

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Mar 6th, 1:15 PM Mar 6th, 1:30 PM

Accommodating Employees Experiencing Work-Life Conflict: An Examination of Supervisors’ Decision Making Processes

UNO Criss Library, Room 225

Supervisors play a critical role in helping employees balance work and family demands, yet only a handful of studies have emphasized the importance of supervisors and their decision making discretion in addressing the many unpredictable life events giving rise to work-family conflict (Clark, 2002; Wells, 2011). In effort to bridge this gap in research, we investigated how supervisors process employee requests for accommodations. Using a mixed-method approach, we also examined whether supervisor assumptions and thought processes influence their choice. Supervisors reviewed a hypothetical problem in which they were asked to grant time off to one of three employees. Following their decision, we asked them to provide rationale for how they arrived at their decision. We also explored whether supervisor gender influenced their decision making, particularly as it related to accommodating a male versus a female parent as much research suggests important gender differences in leadership styles and values (e.g., Frame, Roberto, Schwab, & Harris, 2010; Snipes, Oswald, & Caudill, 1998). Results showed that the decisions of some supervisors were primarily driven by criteria such as perceptions of subordinate deservingness and sympathy toward their nonwork needs. Additionally, analyses demonstrated that both supervisor gender and employee gender influenced judgments of who was chosen for accommodation, indicating evidence of a gendered perspective regarding the roles of mothers versus fathers.