University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business

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Work interrupted: A closer look at work boundary permeability

Author(s): Sungdoo Kim, Elaine Hollensbe

Status: Accepted
Year: 2017
Publication Name: Management Research Review


Abstract

• Purpose: Given the prevalence of work interrupted by home-related matters, the present study has two aims: (1) to increase our knowledge of the antecedents of work boundary permeability by investigating both individual and situational factors; and (2) to better understand the consequences of work boundary permeability by examining both negative and positive effects using a finer-grained measure. • Design/methodology/approach: Data were obtained using two surveys from 308 full-time employees from an information technology firm in the Midwestern United States. Structural equation modeling was used to test hypotheses. • Findings: Individual differences in segmentation preferences (whether one prefers to keep work and home separated or integrated) and situational factors such as workload and home demands were found to predict work boundary permeability. Further, the results showed that maintaining a highly permeable work boundary may be detrimental rather than beneficial. High work boundary permeability led to greater time- and strain-based home-to-work conflict, but not to affective and instrumental positive spillover. • Originality/value: Unlike much previous work-home research focusing on how work intrudes on time outside of work, this study focuses exclusively on how the work domain is affected by intrusions from the home domain. The findings deepen our knowledge about today’s workplace that is subject to continual interruptions and spillover from home-related matters.


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