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SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

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


KOEKEMOER, Eileen  and  MOSTERT, Karina. An exploratory study of the interaction between work and personal life: experiences of South African employees. SA j. ind. Psychol. [online]. 2010, vol.36, n.1, pp.1-15. ISSN 2071-0763.

ORIENTATION: The interaction between work and personal life is an important field of research in the 21st century and of pressing concern for various individuals and organisations internationally and in South Africa. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The objective of this study was to investigate the interaction between work and personal life and the experiences thereof in the South African context. MOTIVATION OF THE STUDY: South African employees are faced with various circumstances which could influence the interaction between their work and personal life and which could constitute different/unique experiences regarding this interaction. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: A non-probability purposive voluntary sample was used. Data collection was done by means of semi-structured in-depth interviews with 92 participants. Content analysis was used to analyse and interpret the research data. MAIN FINDINGS: Four main themes (i.e. the experience of work, experiences and domains in the personal life, interaction between work and personal life, consequences associated with the interaction) were extracted from the data. Participants indicated stressful and supportive aspects in their work as well as additional personal dimensions in their personal life. Interaction between work and various personal dimensions were indicated, as well as consequences associated with different types of interaction. PRACTICAL AND MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Individuals experienced interaction between their work and various other personal dimensions, where the forms of interaction were associated with certain consequences (i.e. spillover of emotions, energy depletion). CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: Compared to international findings, unique findings were obtained relating to individuals' personal life and the consequences associated with the interaction.

Keywords : experiences in the workplace; experiences in the personal life; work-personal life interaction; consequences of interaction; exploratory study.

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