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Case Study

Case Study Dawn Clark RES/320 October 3, 2011 Armand DiCianni

Case Study Case Study This is a qualitative case study that focuses on the work-family life concerns of one midsize southeastern municipal workforce. The case study highlights the insights of this city

government and their paid work and family experiences as well as strategies that could create work environments that are more supportive of their multiple roles (Secret & Swanberg, 2008, p. 199). The authors of the case study note that much information is known about work-family However, the public sector publishes very little This study is one of few research efforts to

life of employees in the private sector.

information about work-family relationships.

examine the challenges faced by local city government employees who manage the multiple demands of work and family. The authors offer a list of employee challenges in the work-family relationship. The challenges include employees stress levels, and employees who deal with dependents at home (both children and parents). This case study focuses on the conflict or the stress experienced by individuals who strive to manage multiple responsibilities and the spillover consequences of the work life to family life and the family life to work life. Although employees strive to alleviate stress in their work- family life, the issues remain the same. Employees deal with work-family conflict in different areas. Work-family conflict varies from position to position, from job to job and from life stage to life stage (Secret & Swanberg, 2008, p. 200). Employees struggle with spillage of the work stress to their home lives and the spillage of stress from home into their work lives. Employees demand that companies provide a family friendly environment with job security, and organizational commitment. Many studies deal only with private sector employees. Public sector employees have the same concerns as the private counterparts. However, the

Case Study private sector prior attempts to resolve work-family solutions act only as a result to increase profits. Profitability is not a concern of the public sector. This study does not compare public sector and private sector employees, but it focuses of the needs and concerns of the public sector employee. The public sector employee includes the police officers, firefighters, child welfare and social workers, public health, and housing code enforcers. These employees deliver services to individuals on a local level. These jobs require direct involvement in the daily lives of the families in the community. Some employees act as first responders in the community where the job takes priority over family life. The study reported in this article was designed to enrich work-family scholarship and the public administration literature by exploring work-family challenges in one local government setting (Secret & Swanberg, 2008, p. 203). The study also covers potential strategies for alleviating work-family burdens generated by the demands of the workplace. One of the methods the researchers used includes the spillover model. The spillover model has been used extensively to illustrate connections between paid work and family life (Secret & Swanberg, 2008, p. 203). It will help the researchers reflect on why the work and family experiences are different from those of the private sector. A good deal of literature has focused on positive and negative spillover as operating in both directions, i.e., work affecting family and family affecting work (Zedeck, 1992, p. 126). The major models competing with spillover are compensation and conflict. Compensation theory claims that work and family are complementary. Employees unfulfilled in their home life seek happiness at work and spouses/parents dissatisfied with their jobs look for enjoyment in their family life. Conflict theory posits that work and family compete. In order to achieve benefits from one, it is necessary to give up certain objectives in the other. An example would be spending less time with a child

Case Study in order to obtain promotions (Young & Kleiner, 1992). The researchers divided the spillover method into four parts employee circumstances and expectations, the nature of the work environment, home and work linkages, and organizational culture and philosophy. The

researchers constructed five research questions that include four from the spillover model and one open systems framework question. The technique of the case study includes the independent variable of municipal employees and the dependent variable of work issues. The researchers sent a letter to the entire municipal staff in the city inviting them to participate in a voluntary study on their own time. The population of this study includes these employees. Ninety-six employees responded to the letter were scheduled for one of twelve focus groups. The focus groups held over a six-week period during the work week. Employees were assigned to a focus session based on their job position and their time preference. This division allowed the distinct sampling of supervisors and non-supervisors. Those supervisory employees attended one of two focus sessions. The other ten sessions were left for non-supervisory job holders. The unpaid focus session lasted about two hours. The methodology of the case study works to gather a random sampling of the municipal workers. The participation of employees was similar to the ratio of employees in the city. The sampling included a balance of women and men as well as ages. The study also yielded employees from all municipal offices in the city, and all levels and positions. The case study would have gathered more information with a random sampling because the employee who accepted the invitation volunteered. Most volunteers have an interest invested in the outcome of the survey. A research assistant audiotaped each session and a non-participant observer and

facilitator took extensive written notes. The primary questions opened the private sessions. The

Case Study notes included two levels of coding. The first coding composes phrases, like family first or job flexibility. When phrases were repeated, they were deemed meaningful units of information and coded. These codes were counted in relation to frequency. In the second level of coding, the researchers examined the units of similarities and difference under the five study questions. This organized system worked to gather information. The researchers mindful of the ethics of the study used multiple observers to collect data. The collectors changed allow the data to remain pure and reliable. The collection occurred through notes, audio and transcripts. Each way giving a different level of data and eliminating contradictory data. The case study yielded vital information from the sampling. The focus groups discussed marriage, parenting, caring for adult parents, and job security. All information common to private sector employee case studies. The researchers focused on the hypothesis that public sector employees felt compelled to their work life over their family life. This study offered a foundation for future case studies with public sector employees. The critique of this author includes that the case study was needed. The conflict between work and family in the public section might seem similar to the private sector, however, the funding for work/family life projects are not available. The disadvantage of the case study is that it only used one municipality as its population. The discoveries only pertained to that

organization, not other municipalities around the country. The local municipal acts like a midsized corporation, yet the employees do not receive the same benefits of a corporation. This study is a preliminary study. It permits continued discussion to continue in this area.

Case Study

Secret, M., & Swanberg, J. (2008). Work-Family Experiences and the Insights of Municipal Government Employees: A Case Study. Public Personnel Management, 37(2), 199-221. Retrieved October 3, 2011 Young, L., & Kleiner, B. H. (1992). Work and family: Issues for the 1990s. Women in Management Review (Vol. 5). Retrieved October 3, 2011 Zedeck, S. (1992). Work, Families, and Organizations. San Francisco,Ca.: Jossey-Bass.