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SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

On-line version ISSN 2071-0763
Print version ISSN 0258-5200


POTGIETER, Sónia C.B.  and  BARNARD, Antoni. The construction of work-life balance: the experience of black employees in a call-centre environment. SA j. ind. Psychol. [online]. 2010, vol.36, n.1, pp.1-8. ISSN 2071-0763.

ORIENTATION: Work-life balance, as a crucial aspect of employee and organisational wellness, remains an interesting field of research, especially due to the changing demographic employee profile. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The objective of the study was to explore Black employees' construction of work-life balance in a customer care environment. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: The conceptual debate regarding the construct of work-life balance in general as well as limited qualitative research with regard to Black employees' experience of work-life balance in a South African context motivated the study. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: This qualitative study was designed from an interpretivist perspective. Ten employees, selected through purposeful sampling, participated in the study. Data was gathered through in-depth interviews and grounded theory was applied during data analysis. MAIN FINDINGS: The grounded theory analysis of the data yielded six themes central to participants' construction of work-life balance. The findings suggest that work-life balance is conceptualised as a continuous, subjective and holistic valuation of satisfaction derived from multiple roles in relation to the importance to the individual at a given point in time. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Findings provide valuable managerial information to guide suitable strategies enhancing the work-life balance experience and by implication employees' general wellbeing, job satisfaction and commitment. CONTRIBUTIONS/VALUE-ADD: This study contributes to the evolving body of knowledge with regard to work-life balance and provides a unique context-specific perspective to the conceptual understanding of the construct.

Keywords : employee wellness; grounded theory; in-depth interview; qualitative research; quality of life; work-home interaction.

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