Original Research

Boundary management of employees’ non-work lives: effects on South African workers’ commitment

Gregory John Lee, Clare Louise Steele
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 12, No 1 | a261 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v12i1.261 | © 2011 Gregory John Lee, Clare Louise Steele | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 August 2011 | Published: 12 August 2011

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Gregory John Lee, Wits Business School, South Africa
Clare Louise Steele, University of the Witwatersrand

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Employees’ lives are holistic, and are comprised of many roles, resulting in complex interactions between their work and non-work lives. Broadly speaking, organisational responses to this could include ignoring employees’ non-work lives (separation), active involvement (integration), or creating flexibility and tolerance, thereby enabling employees to manage conflict (respect). This study investigates whether such response types impact differently on employee commitment. The findings suggest that a separation response decreases affective commitment, moderated by greater non-work involvement or role conflict. A respect response increases affective commitment, moderated by high non-work involvement, role conflict, ‘hindrance’ coping or lower career commitment. Continuance and normative commitment were not affected. These findings suggest that managers might take a role in employees’ non-work lives by creating flexibility and tolerance at work. However, managers should probably avoid implementing paternalistic approaches that attempt active involvement.


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