The nature of work family conflict: A review and agenda for future research

Navaneethakrishnan Kengatharan


The main purpose of this research was to identify gaps in the existing literature on work family conflict from the past 30 years, and develop a viable research plan for further research. Research papers from peer-reviewed journals were collected from multiple databases including Proquest, Business Source Premier (EBSCOhost), Expanded Academic (Gale), Emerald, ISI Web Science, the Sloan Work and Family Research Network at Boston College, and Google Scholar. Full text papers published in English in the last three decades were included in this study.  The collected papers were then classified and analysed using thematic content analysis. Factors influencing work family conflict, their consequences and the relevant constructs were systematically identified and summarised. The gaps in the extant literature from the past 30 years were identified and these were subsumed under a regional gap-theoretical cultural perspective, a measurement gap, cross cultural studies, organisational responsiveness, environmental factors and gender role theory. The present study serves as a springboard for future studies and theory building on the interaction between the work and family domains. This research is original in its nature as it has identified major strands of the extant literature on work family conflict and ipso facto it can guide research scholars towards the unknown terrain of the work family sphere. This research urges policy makers, practitioners and members of organisations to digest this knowledge and it aims to make them aware of the overarching area of work and family in the contemporary world.  The major limitation of this study is the Tower of Babel Bias, to wit, research studies not published in English were excluded from this study. 

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International Journal of Human Resource Studies  ISSN 2162-3058


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