Gender Differences in Work-Family Balance Factors

  • Chai Sian Yi
  • Zaiton Hassan
  • Abang Ekhsan Abang Othman


Influx of women in the paid labor force had been identified as one of the important factors in raising awareness about work-family balance in organizations in developed countries in the west. The same phenomenon also occurs in Malaysia. Malaysia is considered as having traditional gender role ideology, whereby men and women have separate role in the workplace and in the family. Specifically, this study aims to identify whether there are differences in perception between men and women in public sector towards factors associated with work-life balance. Work-life balance factors examined in this study are work demands, supervisor support, organization’s family-friendly policies, family demands, work-family conflict (WFC) and family-work conflict (FWC). Sixty questionnaires were administered to employees in a government health training institution in Sarawak, Malaysia. Data were analyzed using SPPS version 17 and independent t-Test was employed in testing the hypotheses. The study found that men and women are significantly different in terms of supervisor support, work-family conflict and family demands. However, there was no significant difference between men and women employees with regard to work demands, family-work conflict and utilization of family-friendly policies. In line with previous Western findings, women experienced higher level of work to family conflict (WFC) than men employees. In addition, women also reported higher family demands than men. These findings strengthened the traditional gender role ideology ascribed by majority of Malaysians and lend support to the gender role theory. Therefore, the organization could provide relevant training, such as, time and stress management. Supervisors could be trained to be more aware of work-family balance issues faced by their employees and assist them accordingly.

Keywords: work-family conflict; family-work conflict; gender


Anne, H. (2010). Keeping women at work.

Accountants Today, January 2010,


Allen, T. D. (2001). Family-supportive

work environments: The role of

organizational perceptions. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 58,


Anselmi, D. L., & Law, A. L. (1998).

Questions of gender: Perspectives

& paradoxes. New York: McGraw


Barbee, A. P., Cunningham, M. R., Winstead, B. A., Derlega, V. J., Gulley,

M. R., Yankeelov, P. A., & Druen,

P. B. (1993). Effects of gender role

expectations on the social support process. Journal of Social Issues, 49(3), 175-190.

Bercussen, B. & Dickens, L. (1996). Equal

opportunities and collective bargaining in Europe: Defining the issues, European Foundation for the

Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, Dublin.

Bianchi, S. M. (2000). Maternal employment and time with children: Dramatic change or surprising continuity? Demography, 37(4), 401-414.

Bittman, M. (1998). Changing family responsibilities: The role of social

attitudes, markets and the state.

Family Matters, 50, 31-37.

Boyar, S. L., Carr, J. C., Mosley, D. C. Jr.,

& Carson, C. M. (2007). The development and validation of scores on

perceived work and family demand

scales. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 67, 100-115.

Byron, K. (2005). A meta-analytic review

of work–family conflict and its antecedents. Journal of Vocational

Behavior, 67(2), 169-198.

Carlson, D. S., & Perrewe, P. L. (1999).

The role of social support in the

stressor-strain relationship: An examination of work-family conflict.

Journal of Management, 25, 513-

Choi, J., & Chao, C. C. (2006). Gender

differences in perceived work demands, family demands, and life

stress among married Chinese employees. Management and Organization Review, 2(2), 209-229.

Cinamon, R. G., & Rich, Y. (2002). Gender differences in the importance

of work and family roles: Implications for work–family conflict. Sex

Roles, 47, 531–541.

Cleveland, N, J., Cordeiro, B., Fisk, G.,

& Mulvaney, H. R., (2006). The

role of person, spouse and organizational climate on work-family

perceptions. The Irish Journal of

Management (Special Issue), 229-

Dex, S. (2003). Families and work in the

twenty-first century. York: The Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Dikkers, J. S. E., Geurts, S. A. E., Dulk,

L., den Peper, B., & Kompier,

M. A. J. (2004). Relations among

work-home culture, the utilization

of work-home arrangements, and

work-home interference. International Journal of Stress Management, 11(4), 323-345.

Doherty, L. (2004). Work-life balance nitiatives: implications for women.

Employee Relations, 26(4), 433-

Duxbury, L. E., & Higgins, C. A. (1991).

Gender differences in work-family

conflict. Journal of Applied Psychology, 76(1), 60-74.

Duxbury, L. E., Higgins, C. A., & Lee, C.

(1994). Work-family conflict: A

comparison by gender, family type,

and perceived control. Journal of

Family Issues, 15, 449-466.

Duxbury, L. E., & Higgins, C. A. (2003).

Work-Life Conflict in Canada in the

New Millennium: A Status Report

(Report Two), Health Canada, Ottawa. Retrieved October 10, 2009,



Eagle, B. W., Miles, E. W., & Icenogle,

M. L. (1997). Interrole conflicts

and the permeability of work and

family domains: Are there gender

differences?. Journal of Vocational

Behavior, 50(2), 168-184.

Eby, L. T., Casper, W. J., Lockwood,

A., Bordeaux, C., & Brinley, A.

(2005). Work and family research

in IO/OB: Content analysis and review of the literature (1980–2002).

Journal of Vocational Behavior,

(1), 124-197.

Economic Planning Unit Malaysia (2006).

Ninth Malaysian Plan 2006-2010.

Putra Jaya: Prime Minister’s Department Malaysia.

Fagan, C. (2001). The temporal reorganization of employment and the

household rhythm of work schedules. American Behavioral Scientist, 44(7), 1199-1212.

Ford, M. T., Heinen, B. A., & Langkamer, K. L. (2007). Work and family

satisfaction and conflict: A metaanalysis of cross-domain relations.

Journal of Applied Psychology,

(1), 57-80.

Frone, M. R., Russell, M., & Cooper, M. L.

(1992). Antecedents and outcomes

of work family conflict: Testing a

model of the work-family interface.

Journal of Applied Psychology,

(1), 65-78.

Frone, M. R., Yardley, J. K., & Markel, K.

S. (1997). Developing and testing

an integrative model of the work–

family interface. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 50, 145-167.

Greenhaus, J. H., & Beutell, N. J. (1985).

Sources of conflict between work

and family roles. Academy of Management Review, 10(1), 76-89.

Greenhaus, J.H.,. Bedian, A.G., Mossholder, K. W. (1987). Work experiences, job performance, and feelings

of personal and family well-being.

Journal of Vocational Behavior, 3.


Greenhaus, J. H., Collins, K. M., & Shaw,

J. D. (2003). The relation between

work–family balance and quality of

life. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63(3), 510-531.

Greenhaus, J. H., & Powell, G. N. (2006).

When work and family are allies: A

theory of work-family enrichment.

Academy of Management Review,

, 72-92.

Gutek, B., Searle, S., & Klepa, L. (1991).

Rational versus gender role-explanations for work-family conflict.

Journal of Applied Psychology,

, 560-568.

Hassan, Z., Dollard, M., & Winefield,

T. (2007, 28 June - 1 July 2007).

Work-family policy and work-family conflict in the Malaysian private

sector: A preliminary study. Paper

presented at the 7th Industrial and Organisational Psychology / 1st

Asia Pacific Congress on Work

and Organisational Psychology,


Hassan, Z., Dollard, M. F., & Winefield,

A. H. (2010). Work-family conflict

in East vs Western countries. Cross

Cultural Management: An International Journal, 17(1), 30-49.

Hassan, Z. & Hamidi, H. (2012). Predicting work-family and family-work

conflict from work and family domain: A longitudinal study. International Journal of Management

Studies 19(1), 135-150.

Helgeson, V. S. (2005). The Psychology of

gender, 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs,

NJ: Prentice Hall.

International Labour Review (1997). Perspectives: Parental leave. 136(1),


Jamilah, O., Rahim, M. S., & Aminah, A.

(2006). Women and peace: Issues,

challenges and strategies. Baraplas Kreatif Enterprise, Serdang.

Kirchmeyer, C. (1995). Managing the

work-non-work boundary: An

assessment of organizational responses. Human Relations, 48(5),


Kopelman, R. E., Greenhaus, J. J., &

Connolly, T. F. (1983). A model of

work, family, and inter-role conflict: A construct validation study.

Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 32, 198-215.

Lautenbach, H. (2006). Multiple work

burden and burnout among women. Social Economische Trends, 2,


Lewis, S. (2000). Restructuring workplace

cultures: The ultimate work-family

challenge? Women in Management

Review, 16(1), 21-29.

Livingston, B. A., & Judge, T. A. (2008).

Emotional responses to work–family conflict: An examination of gender role orientation among working

men and women. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(1), 207-216.

Lu, L., Kao, S.-F., Chang, T.-T., Wu, H.-

P., & Cooper, C. L. (2008). Work/

family demands, work flexibility, work/family conflict, and their

consequences at work: A national

probability sample in Taiwan. International Journal of Stress Management, 15(1), 1-21.

Malaysia women’s summit strives to improve lives of women, available



Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development & UNDP,

(2014). Study to Support the Development of National Policies

and Programmes to Increase and

Retain the Participation of Women

in Malaysian Labour Force: Key

Findings and Recommendations.

Ministry of Women, Family and

Community Development, Kuala


Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, (2014). Return

to Work Press Statement. available


McDonald, P., Brown, K., & Bradley, L.

(2005). Explanations for the provision-utilisation gap in work-life

policy. Women in Management Review, 20(1), 37-55.

McElwain, A. K., Korabik, K., & Rosin,

H. M. (2005). An examination of

gender differences in work-family

conflict. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 37(4), 283-298.

Neal, M. B., & Hammer, L. B.

(2007). Working couples caring for

Chai Sian Yi, Zaiton Hassan, and Abang Ekhsan Abang Othman

Journal of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development. Vol. 1 (1), 34-45, September 2015

children and aging parents: Effects

on work and well-being. Lawrence

Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Noor, N. M. (1999). Roles and women’s

well being: Some preliminary findings from Malaysia. Sex Roles,

(314), 123-145.

Papalexandris, N., & Kramar, R. (1997).

Flexible working patterns: Towards

reconciliation of family and work.

Employee Relations, 19(6), 581-

Peeters, M., Montgomery, A., Bakker, A.,

& Schaufeli, W. (2005). Balancing

work and home: How job demands

and home demands are related to

burnout. International Journal of

Stress Management, 12, 43-61.

Spector, P. E., & Jex, S. M. (1998). Development of four self-report measures of job stressors and strain: Interpersonal Conflict at Work Scale,

Organizational Constraints Scale,

Quantitative Workload Inventory,

and Physical Symptoms Inventory. Journal of occupational health

psychology, 3(4), 356.

Talbot, S. (2005). From here to paternity:

Family biographies in the making.

Family Matters, 72, 58–63.

Thompson, C. A., Beauvais, L. L., & Lyness, K. S. (1999). When workfamily benefits are not enough: The

influence of work–family culture

on benefit utilization, organizational. Journal of Vocational Behavior,

, 392-415.

Toth, H. (2005). Gendered dilemma of

the work-life balance in Hungary.

Women in Management Review,

(5), 361-375.

UNDP (2005). Human Development Report 2005, New York: UNDP.

Wayne, J. H., Musisca, N., & Fleeson, W.

(2004). Considering the role of

personality in the work–family experience: Relationships of the big

five to work–family conflict and

facilitation. Journal of Vocational

Behavior, 64, 108-130.

Wise, S., & Bond, S. (2003). Work-life

policy: Does it do exactly what it

says on the tin? Women in Management Review, 18(1/2), 20-31.

Yang, N., Chen, C. 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, 41, 113-123.

How to Cite
Sian Yi, C., Hassan, Z., & Abang Othman, A. E. (2015). Gender Differences in Work-Family Balance Factors. Journal of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development, 1(1), 34-45.