Final Research Proposal:
Student will submit the final research proposal for the chosen project:
The proposal will :
The Impact of Work Life Balance on Employee Performance, A Case Study of Woolworths
Work Life Balance refers to a term describing the balance which an employee requires within allocation of time for work and other perspectives of life. The basic ideology is to focus on work and manage personal responsibilities simultaneously for leading a compact lifestyle. In this context, the selected topic will focus on the impact of work life balance on performance of employees (Haar et al., 2014). The chosen company for the specific topic is Woolworths. The company is determined as one of the biggest chains of super market in Australia comprising of nearly 115000 employees. Coles and Woolworths accounts for nearly 80% of the market duopoly in the super market chain. However, increasing complaints regarding poor work life balance are affecting the reputation of the company negatively. In this context, the researcher will aim to identify the issues resulting in poor work life balance and propose suitable recommendations for enhancing the performance of employees, which is witnessing a stumble in the present scenario.
It is a well known that that happy employees tend to outperform the ones who are unhappy. When the employees are pressurized unnecessarily, they tend to feel undervalued in an organization. In this context, it could be stated that poor work life balance results in reducing job satisfaction which ultimately hampers the performance of employees within the organizational context (Poulose & Sudarsan, 2018). Off late, one of the giant corporations in the super market chain Woolworths, has been under the scanner due to practicing of poor work life balance for the employees. Increasing complaints on several online job portals by employees signifies the fact that a toxic work culture is present at Woolworths resulting in increasing employee attrition and quitting of jobs (LinkedIn, 2019). Poor employee performance is also viable owing to excess pressure exerted on the employees. The job portals reflect upon their horrid experiences at job whether others state it is a misfit for weak minded people. Cancellation of paid leaves, stringent work demands and stretched shifts at regular intervals are creating unparallel work pressure on the employees, Due to the presence of such circumstances, their personal life is getting affected badly. As a result of which, they are losing their motivation at work badly. As per Glassdoor reviews one of the employees stated that the senior management acts as if they are cynical bullies. Mutual respect to the executives is missing in the organization with senior management consistently makes the employees work hard with snarky comments (Mail Online, 2019). It was reported even in cases of emergencies in relation to personal commitments, the leave is not granted on numerous occasions making it difficult for the employees to survive. In this context, it could be stated that there should be proper investigation regarding the factors contributing towards the toxic work culture of Woolworths which is influencing the performance of employees in a negative manner.
While analyzing the work culture of Woolworths it could ne estimated that the employees are enduring a difficult time in managing their personal and professional life. Due to the reason of unable to cope up with the incorrigible work pressure, several employees left the job, while others were asked to leave. In regards to the reaction, several staffs of Woolworths took their rage to Facebook Group and Memes for insulting the company work culture on open platform (Pedestrian TV, 2019). As per opinion of Haar et al., (2014), a toxic work culture paralyzes the work force by diminishing their productivity. In this context, it is very much essential to identify the issues related to work life balance which is affecting employee performance. The productivity of the organization is getting hampered owing to poor employee output. On several occasions, the employees of Woolworths lose passion in their work due to isolation from their personal life. The selected topic will help the researcher in ensuring the needfulness of work life balance within the work culture of Woolworths so that the employees can give a productive performance from an organizational point of view.
Constant isolation from family and personal commitment can affect the motivation of the employees at work. Furthermore, it can trigger conflicts in their personal life. When both personal and professional life are at stake an individual can take impulsive decisions. In-depth understanding of the issues related to work conflict may assist in proposing strategic recommendations for Woolworths to regain employee faith and develop a positive work culture. The selected topic will assist the researcher in ensuring effective management of work life balance at the work place. Application of interventions and strategies for influencing work life balance will reflect upon a positive motivation on the employees. Motivated employees will tend to perform better and contribute towards organizational productivity (Anitha, 2014). Therefore, application of work-life balance interventions will not only contribute evolution of a positive work culture through enhanced employee performance and commitment.
The aim of the researcher is to determine the impact of work life balance on the performance of Woolworths employees.
The research objectives are as follows:
The research questions are as follows:
This section will detail the theoretical underpinnings of the study through critical analysis of the existing literature on work-life balance and employee performance.
As opined by Shagvaliyeva & Yazdanifard, (2014) work life balance refers to balancing of professional and personal commitments in life. Individual Work life balance varies over daily period and is different for all concerned as everyone have different urgencies to deal with. As an individual enters a job, both the employer and employee should put all positive efforts to maintain balance between life and work. However, it does not necessarily mean that work and family life have to be divided equally. As stated by Todd & Binns (2013), in certain work culture there is no cubicle, employees are allowed to work from home and flexible working options are provided resulting in work life balance. While in other organisations employees feel distress due to stretched shifts, unpaid overtime, cancellation of leaves on emergency situations etc. From an organisational point of view, it is essential to ensure balance of work and life so that employee could perform at their level best.
Employee Performance depends on several factors like quality, quantity and effectiveness of work along with behaviours shown by employees in workspace. For an individual, performance may refer to work success, ascendency and proficiency at the task level. However, Bedarkar & Pandita, 2014) stated that motivation serves as a driving force for enhanced employee performance at the workplace. In this context, Munn (2013) stated that employees feel motivated when they are exposed to a positive work culture with needful facilities and amenities. Likewise, if the basic needs are not addressed, it can result in reduced employee impact.
As opined by Singh & Jain (2013), work-life balance practices are a crucial factor in determining an employee’s performance if connected in an appropriate manner. A happy employee will be self-motivated to work compared to an unhappy one struggling to get right balance.
Figure: Work Life Balance
(Source: Singh &v Jain, 2013)
When employees are given a choice in location and time as suitable to them, they would exhibit greater satisfaction of job. Zhang et al., (2015), suggested that male employees often give preference to work before family, however stringent work pressure at regular intervals can affect their work motivation as well. A compressed workweek has a positive impact on revenue, absence, employment, optimism and efficiency. New work-related philosophies, ideas and performance are taking over old methods of management and it associates with accepting flexibility in the place of boring working methods. In this context, organisations should be considering right balance between commitments towards work while simultaneously ensuring management of personal responsibilities effectively.
6.4 Factors hampering work life balance in the workplace
Employees are subjected to variety of circumstances which leads to poor work life balance. Zhao et al., (2013), stated that employees often have to compromise their personal commitments due to the fact that expenses have increased in comparison to the salary earned. To address specific individual and family needs, employees have to work hard for earning extra money, which indeed affects the balance of personal and professional life. Likewise, long working hours is one of the most determinant factors which results in poor work life balance. Kasemsap (2013), stated that excess pressure from top management to accomplish targets and working for extra hours often make an employee compromise his personal commitments. Lack of flexibility in work timings tends to be a persistent issue in the retail sector. Employees even have to work in their week offs and their appeal for leaves is often denied resulting in poor maintenance of work life balance. Likewise, Job insecurity and enhanced responsibilities at work also tend to hamper work life balance in a negative manner. When an employee is bestowed with too much work responsibility, then he has to compromise with these personal commitments at life. In this context, Singh & Jain (2013), quoted that when an employee is unsure about this position at workplace, he tends to overdo his work responsibilities on numerous occasions for the sake of impressing management, however, their personal lifestyles are compromised. Further enhancement of responsibilities at home is highly connected to maintaining of work-life balances. In this context, it could be stated that when responsibility at home increases then automatically the urgency for work-life balances rises. () quoted that young employees tend to work for longer duration than middle aged or older employees. This is because the former has less family responsibilities as compared to younger employees. A married individual will tend to take paternal or maternal leaves in case of emergencies. All the corresponding factors have triggered poor maintaining of work life balance at the work place.
Emotional Exhaustion model
Emotional exhaustion refers to a stage where an employee is emotionally retarded due to imbalance of work and life. The model suggests that too much involvement might hamper personal life resulting in conflicts (Laurence, Fried & Slowik, 2013). Likewise, it states that too much inclination towards personal life might also deviate an individual from professional pursuit.
Figure: Employee Exhaustion Model
(Source: Laurence, Fried & Slowik, 2013)
Additionally, the inclination towards personal and professional life are dependent upon certain factors such as education, age, marital status, tenure at work etc. Each of the factors signified the need for work life balance and whenever it is unmet, confliction happens resulting in emotional exhaustion. Furthermore, exhaustion affects the employee performance and also trigger turnover intentions on numerous occasions. On an overall note, it could be stated that proper maintaining of work and personal life may alleviate the chances of having emotional exhaustion effectively.
Work Commitment Model
The model suggests that when the perceived expectations of the employees are fulfilled, they show commitment towards work with increased performance. Every employee needs flexibility in their work so that they can fulfil their personal desire while keeping it in tandem with the professional pursuit (McCulloch, 2017). If there is attainment of work-life balance, commitment towards work automatically increases. In this context, the management of the organisation should be supportive towards the employees so that they can manage their personal and professional life simultaneous. Whenever, there is an imbalance, it leads to low level of commitment, which automatically hampers performance of the employees at the workplace.
Figure: Work Commitment Model
Source: (McCulloh, 2017))
Field (2014), suggests that one of the major issues faced by employees in the modern era is that they often mix their personal and professional issues together. In this context, if employees have a sense of ownership or controlling in decision making, it will automatically result in better development of relationship with management. This would automatically allow the employees to segregate personal and professional issues. Organisations supporting work-life balance are supported by the employees and it automatically improves performance with better rate of retention. The employees should take active participation to engage in exercises of team building. When employees start backing up each other, the stress can be managed easily. If one employee has some personal commitments, the whole team can come to the rescue, thus encouraging work life balance (Field, 2014). Development of strong bonding with colleagues can also alleviate issues related to work life balance. If all the employees come up with a similar issue, then the management is bound to take needful actions, which is not effective in individual case. The following initiatives taken by employees could encourage work-life balance at the workplace.
There are several factors which influences effective maintaining of work life balance at the workplace. The primary need of employees is inclusion of flexible working conditions in an organisation. If the employees are entitled to suitable work timings, they can maintain both their personal and professional life easily. Additionally, the employees should be entitled to take short breaks during the working hours (Gayathiri et al., 2013). This would reduce work stress and boost their physical as well as mental strength at the work place. The organisation should encourage the employees to go for vacations during times when there is less work pressure. It would automatically allow an employee to fulfil his personal desires by spending some quality time with his family members or loved ones. Offering of community engagement opportunities also keep an employee interested at work where they can exercise certain aspects of their personal needs. The management should always consider if the employees are happy at the workplace, it would automatically have a positive reflection on their performance.
The researcher will select the philosophy of positivism as it enables scientific evaluating of data by concentration on statistical evaluation (Weinberg, 2013). Furthermore, it is inclined towards logical reasoning through testing of research variables. The inductive approach is avoided by the researcher as it indulges itself in generation of new theories instead of generalizing information.
The deductive approach will be researcher’s ideal choice as it assists in deducing pertinent information from existing theoretical conceptualization (Pearl, 2014). The approach works in effective tandem with quantified information and therefore, preferred by the researcher. The inductive did not favor inductive approach due to its inability to provide conclusive findings in a study. Furthermore, it shows its inclination towards qualitative analysis which is not adopted in the specific topic.
The researcher will be selecting a descriptive type of design as it assists in intervening the issues involved in the study more effectively. The adopted design will assist the researcher in underpinning the issues related to work life balance in Woolworths so that necessary remedies could be taken for minimizing its impact and enhance employee performance. Additionally, descriptive design has the ability of evaluating a phenomenon from several perspectives in order to determine the root causes of the research issues.
The researcher will be considering using of both primary as well as secondary information in the specified topic. The primary type of data will refer to the collecting of raw data during the survey process. Likewise, Secondary source will reflect upon accumulating credible data for synthesis of literature review from authentic papers, journals, websites of government, scientific data base and google scholar.
The researcher will be selecting the Quantitative strategy for the specific study as it takes the initiative of disseminating numerical information through the conducting of surveys (Fassinger & Morrow, 2013). The raw-first-hand data collected during the process of surveying is safe from any form of manipulating the data. Furthermore, the selected process reflects upon data accuracy and could be completed easily within a stipulated framing of time. The researcher has not considered the Qualitative strategy irrespective of its connectivity with information enrichment from educated personalities. Furthermore, the information shared can be manipulated in the sense, that the respondents have a strong connectivity with the organization and therefore, not be willing to share the exact reasons behind poor work life balance in Woolworths.
The researcher will be sending survey questions to 100 employees working in Woolworths with the assistance of survey monkey tool which provides dynamic features for formulating questions to be asked to the participants (Singh & Masuku, 2014). Simple random sampling technique will be most effective as it ensures the fact every participant is getting equal opportunities as far their chance of getting selected is concerned.
The researcher will primarily be focusing towards statistical evaluations by the usage of charts, bar diagrams and tables, thus representing data graphically. Thereafter correlation analysis will be preferred which would allow to test the interconnectivity amongst the variables of the research and its influences on each other.
The researcher will be following the regulations underpinned with the act of data protection acts for ensuring privacy during research participation. The participants involved shall not be under any form of pressure while involving in the study. The researcher will be utilizing the information for academic purposes only (Stichler, 2014). The personalized data of respondents will be encrypted in a computer which is been protected by passwords. The researcher will be keeping himself immune from any sort of manipulation while formulating findings of the study.
While concluding it could be said that work-life balance is essential for a positive organization culture and if not practiced it will affect the employee performance due to low morale. The researcher formulated the needful research questions and adopted appropriate designs for effective conduction of the study. The ethical rules are abided for ensuring privacy of respondent participation.