Family and work are arguably the two most important components in a working adult’s life. Yet, has it ever occur to the mind that these two major life domains tend to interfere and influence each other in a daily basis? Well, according to study by Sonnentag and Binnewies (2013), avoiding the interferences between work and family responsibilities appears to be almost impossible as these two domains tend to be closely integrated. So, now that we understand work and family are integrated another question arises.
If the boundary between family life and work life has become more indistinct (especially with use of mobile communication devices that allow workers to communicate with their family members and flexibility that certain organizations provide for their employees to work from their respective home) wouldn’t this cause more clash or conflict between the work and family life of an employee? The answer to this question is yes, because a substantial amount of research has found that fuzziness between work and family life can result in inevitable work-life conflict (Devi & Rani, 2013; Nomaguchi, 2009) which at times may even led to adverse mental health issue among employees (Bruck, Allen & Spector, 2002).
Hence, this is the reason why integrating and maintaining an equilibrium between the work and personal life commitments has become a global subject of discussion among scholars, organizations and workers in recent times (Kossek & Lambert, 2005; Noor, Stanton & Young, 2009). Consequently/Having said that, a growing consensus found addressing “spillover” effect that takes place between work and family responsibilities (which in many ways is responsible for work-family conflict) is vital as it plays a major role a result of lack of clear boundary between work and family responsibilities. Spillover theory The spillover theory postulates that the emotions, values, skills, behaviour and attitudes acquired in one domain to spill over into another life domain and influence it (Zedeck, 1992; Tammelin, 2009; Ilies et al, 2009; Powell & Greenhaus, 2010).
This event can be explained through a study conducted by Voydanoff (2004), who found that family demands experienced by employees’ to psychologically spillover into their work lives and subsequently influence their performance and emotions at work. Having said that, it is important to note that spillover can either be (positive or negative) and may occur in two different direction (work-to-family or family-to-work). However, the current study only aims to focus on family-to-work positive spillover. Family-to-work positive spillover is defined as positive aspect of family life to spillover into workplace (Barnett & Hyde, 2001). (this definition is copy paste). Despite the term positive spillover have been used in numerous literatures since early 1980s and the benefits of engaging in multiple roles been recognized for more than 45 years (Sieber,1974), there are very limited empirical research which explores how family resources help married working individuals to perform well at workplace.
An early study on family-to-work positive spillover has reported that family culture and values which are learned by an individual is likely to spillover and influence one’s work ethics (Kanter,1977). Apart from that, another recent example of family-to-work positive spillover taking place in a working person’s life is clearly described by Ruderman, Ohlott, Panzer and King (2002), whereby a manger has reported that “ I think being a mother and having patience and watching someone else grow has made me a better manager. I am better able to be patient with other people and let them grow and develop in a way that is good for them” (p.373). This statement from a participant of the study certainly depict how a person’s personal life can enhance their professional life as well. Previous, work-family literatures have been largely focusing on work-to-family spillover (cite some studies).
This eventually left a void in understanding the dynamics of family-to-work spillover, especially on how family-to-work positive spillover influences one’s work behaviours such as job motivation, satisfaction and performance. This statement is further authenticated by Crouter (1984), who claimed family-to-work spillover to be “the neglected side of work-family interference” (p.425). Therefore, the present study sought to help fill the gap in family-to-work positive spillover by exclusively exploring the family-to-work positive spillover experienced by married working men and women in relation to job motivation, job satisfaction and job performance. In order to provide greater comprehension on how family life can enhance the work life of a person, past studies on family-to-work positive spillover were reviewed. A study conducted by Friedman and Greenhaus (2000),¬ suggested that career advancement, career success and income (which are known to be three main indicators of career success) to be positively related to marriage and having children predominantly among men.
Based on this finding, it has been concluded by Friedman and Greenhaus that marriage and presence of children in a working men life to result in work satisfaction. Similarly, Voydanoff (2001) discovered that social support received from family members to be positively impacting an individual’s work satisfaction, career development and career success. In contrary, Haar and Bardoel (2008) reported that family-to-work positive spillover experienced by Australian employees was significantly related to family satisfaction (implying that positive spillover has greatest influence on outcome associated with same domain). (Family satisfaction has a strong influence in positive family-work spillover ).