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Work-family and interpersonal conflict as levers in the resource/demand-outcome relationship

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Purpose ‐ This article seeks to apply the challenge–hindrance conceptualization of demands to a model that relates stressors to emotional exhaustion and job satisfaction. Supervisory support, a resource, is posited as a precursor to demands, and work–family conflict (WFC) and interpersonal conflict (IPC) at work are expected to mediate the demand–strain and job satisfaction relationships. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This cross-sectional self-report survey included a sample of 600 government employees in Canada. Findings ‐ In addition to directly influencing job satisfaction, supervisory support reduces strain and increases motivation by decreasing hindrances and interpersonal conflict. Also, although, challenge and hindrance demands are both positively associated with strain, task complexity is positively associated with job satisfaction, whereas role ambiguity and interpersonal conflict are negatively associated with job satisfaction. Furthermore, work–family conflict and interpersonal conflict fully mediate the effects of supervisory support, role conflict, and task complexity on strain, and they reduce the effects of ambiguity on strain. Thus, these factors have limited effects on strain by themselves; rather, they act on strain through emotional demands. Research limitations/implications ‐ Some challenges have a strong connection with resources, yet also induce strain. Future models should incorporate the challenge-hindrance approach to classifying demands and should examine challenge demands that motivate people to engage in stressful activities. Also, although work-family conflict and interpersonal conflict at work concern different spheres, future research should incorporate both spheres and employ emotional demands as mediating variables. Practical implications ‐ Given that some challenges can be motivating yet stressful, the consequences of interventions can be difficult to forecast. Results point to the importance of carefully designing interventions and the role of WFC and IPC as potential levers in managing strain arising from complex jobs and other types of challenges. Originality/value ‐ This paper considers a unique model of demands, resources, and outcome variables that contributes to the knowledge about how to address stress.
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Keywords: Canada; Conflict; Family; Job satisfaction; Resources; Role conflict; Stress

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-09-14

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