Employees are fulfilled and thrive when their managers care about their family life. le 07/12/2015

IN A STUDY TO BE PUBLISHED ON DECEMBER 4, 2015 IN THE JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT*, THE RESEARCH TEAM LED BY KEDGE BS DEMONSTRATES THAT THE PERFORMANCE OF EMPLOYEES AND THEIR PROFESSIONAL ENRICHMENT INCREASE WHEN THEIR SUPERVISOR CARES ABOUT THEIR FAMILY LIVES AND THE PROBLEMS THEY MAY ENCOUNTER.

Based on the observation that today it is increasingly difficult for employees to successfully balance work and family life,

“The prolonged economic crisis is leading many employees to work longer hours in order to demonstrate a commitment to their employers and to keep their jobs, consequently, they are less able to invest as they would like in their family life. Our work has uncovered that the support received, particularly from a supervisor, is critical in helping employees to successfully handle these competing demands.”

Marcello Russo, Assistant Professor at KEDGE BS, and team leader of this research

Using a sample of 512 employees (156 Italians and 356 Chinese), the researchers examined the positive effects on employees generated by working with a supervisor who is supportive of their family-related problems. The researchers found that the presence of a family supportive supervisor:

  • Enhances the perception of working  in a supportive environment where employees feel free to discuss their family-related problems and to seek help
  • Facilitates access to psychological resources that employees can use to cope successfully with competing work and family demands,
  • Stimulates the undertaking of proactive behaviors and self-development initiatives that are crucial to thrive at work as a family supportive supervisor favors the development of resources, including knowledge, positive affect and networks.

Drawing on existing research published on this topic, the study also defines identifies a family supportive supervisorthrough four distinct behaviors:

  • Providing emotional support and showing sympathy towards employees’ family and personal life commitments
  • Providing instrumental support and offering day to day assistance and resources to facilitate the employees’ management of work-family demands
  • Being a role model for employees by  learning how to successfully handle competing work and family demands
  • Undertaking creative work-family initiatives aimed at restructuring the work in a way that can both reduce an individual’s work-family tensions and improve organizational outcomes.

Reference article in Journal of Management: “Russo, M., Buonocore, F., Carmeli, A., & Guo, L. When Family Supportive Supervisors Meet Employees' Need for Caring: Implications for Work-Family Enrichment and Thriving­­. Journal of Management, Forthcoming.”

This study is fully in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility, a strategic area of excellence at KEDGE BS.  It complements the 56 refereed research articles published between 2012 and 2014 in this area by permanent faculty at KEDGE BS. The school’s CSR expertise is exemplified through the Research Chairs ‘Wellness and Work’ (funded by the Caisse d'Epargne Provence-Alpes-Corse up to € 450,000 over 3 years) and ‘Sustainable Development’ (funded by Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux up to € 150,000 over 3 years) as well as through its work on postmodernism as part of the" Villa KEDGE Maffesoli"

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