Work-family conflict has been described as an inter role conflict which arises due to incompatible roles in work and family domain Aslam, Shumaila, Sadaqat, 2011; Carmeli, 2000. It is an inter-role conflict where demands of, time dedicated to, and tension created by an employee’s job interfere with performing family related duties or responsibilities and the tension created by family responsibility interfere with performing work duties (Choi & Kim, 2012; Karatepe & Magaji, 2008; Chinchilla et al, 2006). This creates an imbalance between work life and family life that affects employees of an organisation or a firm.
Human resource in the hotel industry, as in all other service industries, is the most important element in the delivery of service and as such a very crucial component to the success of every hospitality firm or business such as the hotels (Mensah, 2009). Employees of hotels work for long and irregular hours to make a guest satisfied in their facility because hotels these days open for 24 hours. The work time arrangement in the hotel has also been described as countercyclical (Sim & Bujang, 2012; Munck, 2001) in the sense that the most demanding time it the period when workers of other industries are off their work schedules. These periods are on weekends and during holidays.
The hotel industry has seen rapid growth and changes over the years to become the one of the pillars of economic growth in world. Characterized by labour intensive and variability, the hospitality industry in a whole grew at the rate of 5.7 percent from 2004 to 2005 (World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), 2007 cited by Mensah, 2009; Reigel, 1998). The industry is also known to be one of the largest employers in the world. It has been noted that tourism and hospitality employment in both the developed and the developing countries account for over 230 million jobs worldwide. This shows about 8.7 percent of jobs all over the world (World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), 2006). Of this value, the hotel sector contributes most.
Hotels provide hospitality services to strangers, visitors or guests, regardless of their purpose for travelling, as they have basic needs to be taken care of. These guests or strangers will need good food, clean water, safe, clean and comfortable places to sleep at night, and good entertainment areas for socialization. Hotels provide them with all it takes to satisfy those needs. For that reason, it is eminent that accommodation facilities (Hotels) become a melting pot of differing motives due to the fact that different people with different characteristics and motives come to hotels in search of hospitality services.
Accommodation services such as hotels and guest houses (Mensah, 2009; Akyeampong, 2006; Brotherton, 1999; King, 1995), among others, meet the physiological needs as well as the psychological needs of guests or tourists, who are away from their usual place of work and residence in return for a fee. The industry has, as a result, been described as a social exchange phenomenon that involves relationships between people, offering shelter, warmth or kindness to strangers or guests (Litteljohn, 2003; Slattery, 2002; Lashely & Morrison, 2000).
The changing clientele of hotel services, over the years, has come with changes in job demands, job stress, and job support, among others, for employees in hotels. These characteristics of the hospitality work together with others such as long unpredicted working hours, simultaneous production and consumption, perishability of hospitality products and intangibility of the services provided make employees in the industry particularly susceptible to work-family conflict (WFC) and make the hotel a breeding place for work-family conflict (Magnini, 2009). These conditions put hotel employees in an unfriendly environment that facilitate work-family conflict (WFC) coupled with limited benefits that support the family system including family friendly system and family supportive managers and supervisors (Karatepe & Magaji, 2008).
In recent years, there has been a greater complexity of work and its related issues with the family. Research works have shown that work and family represent two of the most important aspects of the life of an adult and as such work and family contributes to the explanation and understanding of adult human behaviour and have been realised to have clashes (Magnini, 2012). Bedu-Addo (2010) points out that the interference of work in family roles is becoming one of the major hazards to occupational health, family satisfaction, the well-being of employees and job satisfaction in the 21st century with specially emphasis on women professionals. Researchers have, for a long time, speculated that these two variables (work and family) are related, and this relationship has emerged in the form of conflict where the role of one is interfering in the role of the other domain.
It has been noted that over the past three decades, the structure of the family has undergone changes from large to small family systems (Han, Lee, & Chin, 2009; Choi & Kim, 2012). From a historic standpoint, men have always been the financial providers for the family while women have been home keepers and care-givers. Due to globalization however, changes have taken place and women are also entering the work field. The changing nature of work throughout the world is due to economic conditions and the changing social demands. In the past decade and a half, the number of Ghanaian women who have been involved in formal employment in Ghana has more than doubled (Bedu-Addo, 2010). This according to him is as a result of the modest economic upturn in the past two decades. This economic upturn emanated from the introduction of two economic growth interventions namely Economic Recovery Program (ERP) and the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
With the advent of globalisation in recent years, many people round the world have embraced the view of dual-earner family system over the single earner system which used to be in the past and Ghana is no exception. Organisations have also evolved over time such that they continue to change as individuals’ life also changes (Aslam, et al., 2011). The incorporation of women in the paid employment workforce within the second half of the twentieth century became the most important socio-demographic phenomenon influence the dual income earning family systems (Tugores, 2008), and this worth mentioning in recent times when discussing work-family interferences. Work-Family conflict has been noted to extensively influence the health conditions of an individual in various forms including bibulosity and depression. It is also known to influence an individual’s work as in work satisfaction and vocation ambition, as well as the family happiness (Eby, et al., 2005).
The issue of work and its interference with family life has been widely studied by many researchers in different fields of study such as psychology, business, sociology and also organisational behaviour (Aslam, Shumaila, Azhar, & Sadaqat, 2011; Xiao & O’Neill, 2010). Also, there have been a number of research works on the WFC addressing the issue of gender differences and have demonstrated that females experience more WFC than males such that females may take on much more work responsibility than their male counterparts (Zhang, 2011; Perkins & DeMeis, 1996).
Despite the advances made in the literature of work-family conflict, evidence suggests that the examinations of work and family have been conducted independently of each other. However, some researchers have agreed that work and family are related, and have found that this relationship has emerged in the form of conflict, exhibited in different forms. There is therefore the need to have insight into the conflicting nature of work and family roles in the Ghanaian perspective.
Another gap identified in the work-family conflict literature is the little attention devoted to addressing the forms of conflict, the effects or problems caused by WFC and also, the main strategies that are used to control WFC (Magnini, 2012; Cleveland, O’Neill, Hlmelright, Harrison, Crouter, & Drago, 2007; Mulvaney, O’Neill, Cleveland, & Crouter, 2006). Even though there has been a number of studies in the field of human resource management in hospitality industry in Ghana including the study of human resource issues in the development of tourism by Appaw-Agbola, Afenyo-Dehlor, & Agbola (2011); human resource management practices in selected hotels in Accra metropolis by Harding (2012), issues of WFC in the Ghanaian hospitality industry, assessing the nature, factors, and effects have been left out of the picture. The paucity of research into this area makes it necessary for a research to be conducted in order to illuminate work-family issues facing employees in the Ghanaian hospitality industry and more specifically, in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis.
Further, the literature on work-family conflict have been dominated by studies in the context of the developed world (Xiao and O’Neill, 2010; O’Neill and Davis, 2009; Cleverland et al., 2007). It has been noted that research findings that are on the conflict and facilitation dimensions of the work-family interface has been neglected in developing economies and particularly in the Sub-Saharan African countries such as Ghana (Karatepe & Magaji, 2008; Aryee, 2005).
Generally, the development of hospitality throughout the world is a function of complex factors that coalesce to generate dynamic processes that one must understand in a local context in order to help deal with work-family conflict situations. There is therefore the need for research to be conducted into the phenomenon within the Ghanaian context as hospitality industry keeps on expanding at a rapid rate. This will help to give an insight into the WFC issues confronting employees of hotels in the Ghanaian hospitality industry.
Upon the backdrop of issues raised in the research problem stated above, certain pertinent questions may be raised in the minds of readers
what forms of WFC are faced by hotel employees in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis?
what factors contribute to work-family conflicts in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis?
what are the effects of WFC on hotel employees in Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis?
how do hotel employees in Sekondi-Takoradi cope with the effects of WFC?
The general objective of the study is to examine work-family conflict among hotel employees in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis. The specific objectives are to:
identify the forms of WFC among hotel employees in the Sekondi-Takodadi Metropolis;
examine factors that contribute to work-family conflicts;
determine the effects of WFC on employees;
determine the coping strategies used by employees to reduce WFC.
H0: There is no significant difference between the WFC factors of sex of hotel employees in Sekondi-Takoradi.
H0: There no significant relationship between socio-demographics (age, sex, etc.) and WFC.
Significance of the study
Managing human resource in the hospitality industry is one of the most important elements to consider due to the labour intensive nature, simultaneous production and consumption characteristics of the hospitality industry among others. This study therefore provides constructive and insightful information on work and family issues faced by employees in the hotel industry in the Ghanaian perspective, specifically on hotels in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, to hospitality educators, managers of accommodation businesses, students offering hospitality and tourism studies, and other stakeholders in order to fill the knowledge gap.
It also provides valuable information that will shape the design and methods regarding ways to help balance of work and family conflict of employees in the hospitality industry that arise as a result of the interference of one domain (work roles or family roles) affects the performance of the other (either work roles or family roles), to help the managers of accommodation businesses or facilities to make informed decisions, in effort of rendering quality service and preventing work dissatisfaction and frequent turnover as a result of conflicting roles from both work and family.
This study also serves as a background for further studies and empirical research into the work and family role conflict, consequences and spill over within the hospitality industry. It will serve as a baseline for further studies on the work-family relationships that exist in Ghanaian perspective and as such, will set the grounds for more empirical studies into the phenomenon.
Delimitations of the study
This study is encircled to explore the extent to which work and family issues or conflict affect hotel employees in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, how it affect the individual, and the various ways in which the hotel employees tend to use to control or balance the role demands from each domain. The study covers the factors that contribute to the growth of WFC, effects of WFC on the employees, and ways or strategies used to reduce WFC in the study area, concerning hotel employees in the industry within the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis.
This study is divided into five distinct chapters. Chapter one is the introductory chapter which gives the background information to the study, the problem statement, research questions, objectives, hypothesis, significance of the study, and the delimitations of the study. Chapter two consists of review of relevant literature on the subject of hospitality management, work-family conflict, family-work forms, effects and other related issues to the study. Chapter three, deals with the methodological issues of the study. This includes the information on the profile of the study area, study design, sources of data, sampling procedures, fieldwork issues and the related challenges, as well as data analysis, and presentations. Chapter four presents a detailed discussion of the results of the analysed data. Chapter five summarises the key findings of the study, conclusion and recommendation.
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