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Impact of Work Life Balance on Performance

Info: 5453 words (22 pages) Dissertation
Published: 12th Dec 2019

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Tagged: EmploymentManagement


“It’s all about quality of life and finding a happy balance between work and friends and family”

Philip Green, British billionaire businessman


In cultured and well developed societies including both eastern and western countries the conflicts of work and life balance has been the main issue in the modern and globalised economy. Apparently, the need to maintain flexible work-life balance has become essential as the number of female workers and part time workers have gained more part in the growing globalised multinational organisations (Shelton, 2006). These conflicts are traditionally from societal norms which still requires a man to concentrate on careers rather than on family issues, and it works vice versa with the female members of the society who are supposed to take care of the family more rather than working towards their career options (Walker et al., 2008).

The work-life pressures and conflict between personal and professional roles has become the primary area for researches to find the impact of organisational performance due to the imbalanced work-life culture and especially the source of disadvantages women faces in the corporate society. It can be justified as the focus was more on low payment, part-time work culture and absence at the top levels of business (Doherty, 2004).

Some more researches of Human Resource and their roles argued that the work-life issue affects the living standards of their employees (Hammer et al., 2004; Shelton, 2006). It was also proved by Shelton (2006), that the working pattern affects the work-life culture and strategies to maintain a balanced structure and the organisational performance. In United Kingdom a variety of work-life balance rules and policies has been implemented by the Labour government since their three successive rules since 1997 (Lewis and Campbell, 2007).


The main purpose of this research work is to analyse the impact of work-life balance on the organisational performance, especially the retail sector (TESCO), which is operating at a huge scale in United Kingdom and Europe and moving internationally. The main area of this research concentrates on the shop floor workers who work in direct relation with their customers who are the main sources of income for the organisation. This study can be used by the Store Managers and Operational Managers of TESCO to develop and implement various needs and wants of their employees especially the shop floor workers in order to improve the organisational performance.

The following questions are considered to be the main areas of my research:

“How the imbalanced work-life culture affects the organisational performance in the retail industry (TESCO), whose main customers is the general public”.

This question leads to some sub-questions which need to be analysed in order to attain the answer for the main area of study, specifically:

  • How organisations handle work-life conflicts?
  • Is there any influence on the work-life balance strategies on Human Resource and other management practices?
  • What are the main strategies to maintain a balanced work-life culture?
  • What are the main factors of motivation?
  • Is there any relationship between work-life balance and organisational performance?

My research is organised in a flow to understand the needs and wants of an employees who works in direct contacts with customers. In my first chapter the major definitions to terms, role of balanced work-life culture, and its importance in relation with Human Resource Management is discussed before moving to the literature part of my research work. In the next chapter the previous studies relating to my research work has been critically analysed to support my research work and moving down to methodology chapter to state how the data collection work was carried out to support my research. This chapter depicts the ways used to collect data and how it was interpreted. The last chapter of my research work is the crucial one and it analysis all the data and gives empirical results of my research study supported by recommendations and conclusion to my work.


In the developed countries, the work-life balance conflict has gained its prominence as the globalised world tends to increase the level of competition among the rival firms in the same sector. Hence, it is considered that Human Resource Management department has a role to play in maintaining a balanced work-life culture in order to motivate the employees to work committed for the organisational growth. The retail market in the United Kingdom is expected to plunge by 15% by 2011 valuing over £312bn (Datamonitor, UK Retail Futures 2011), showing the slowdown in the annual growth and the increase in the operating cost which acts as the hindrance to utilise the limited available capital. The world economic crisis and changes in the spending perspective of the general public has changed the way the retail industry was operating. Thus, Human Resource is considered as the vital department to tackle this operational changes by finding right people for the right job and ensure they work committed for the organisational growth.

Thus overall view of the retail industry has been a tough challenge for the HRM to provide high standards of training and development programmes to their employees. But at the same time it is necessary to understand the needs and requirements of the employees at the operational level who directly work with the end customers in order to provide quality services.

TESCO, a leading supermarket retailer in the food and non-food sector operating in United Kingdom and in 13 other countries around the world have more than 500,000 employees and moving rapidly with new and potential markets. This shows the importance of Human Resource Management to maintain a balanced work-life culture which will boost organisational growth. There are various motivational factors that gives job satisfaction and helps to maintain a balanced life, which has to be identified in order to concentrate on that to provide quality training and development needs.


This research work concentrates on finding the motivational factors and the level of awareness among the Customer Assistants who work in the shop floor of TESCOs to improve the training and development programmes. The current economic situation has spared the corporate with limited sources and hence it is not wise to spend lot of money on unnecessary and unwanted programmes. The researcher has used the time and resources to collect and discuss some related topics in the literature review chapter before choosing his research methods. After the discussion about the importance of the objectives in the literature review the researcher moves to methodology chapter to know about the available methods and techniques to collect and analyse the data. At last the analysed data is used to interpret and conclude the argument to find out some recommendations for the organisation.



“A day’s work is a day’s work, neither more nor less, and the man who does it needs a day’s sustenance, a night’s repose and due leisure, whether he be painter or ploughman”

George Bernard Shaw


The role of Human Resource Management has increased lately, as the globe has become too small and the brands have moved internationally. This revolution in the global trade has increased the nature of job to be more time bound and customer oriented leaving the employees lot of stress to maintain a balanced work-life culture. Hence, it has become the primary role of Human Resource Department to train and develop their employees to maintain a balanced work-life culture. This chapter finds the literature research works that have been carried out in the past to support the research questions and aims and objectives of the research work.


The Human Resource Management (HRM) is undergoing significant change in designing management systems to utilise the skilled human talents efficiently and effectively to attain the increased levels of organisational goals. All types of organisations, including from small to big, have to recruit, select, train and manage effectively to attain their individual and corporate goals. Hence, Human Resource is essential to fulfil the requirements of both side employees and employers. On the other hand HR has to abide by the legal systems that has been passed out by the government of the nation, and especially in case of international or multinational business firms. Therefore Human Resource Management is considered to be a vital management department whose prime responsible not only stick to recruitment and placing the employees under job, but extends from job satisfaction and retention till retirement, as they are the main capital of every organisation (Mathis and Jackson, 2007).

The introduction of part time work culture in United Kingdom has been the cause for the improvement of HRM activities as the multicultural society faces lot of legal and other issues from social backgrounds. Especially the retail giants like TESCO, Sainsbury, Primark, and Marks & Spencer are investing lot of their time and money to frame some strategic systems to maintain a balanced work culture which has its direct impact on the organisational performance (Maxwell et al., 2008). On the contrary some people take their employment as their career opportunity to grow within an organisational sector and works dedicated balancing both lives. In such cases the Human Resource Management has to support their employees through training and development programmes to motivate them to go forward with their balanced work life.


The growing technology and internationalisation has been a challenge to most industries including the retail industry which operates all over the west and in direct relationship with their customers. This is one of the major industries which have close contact with the customers daily on face to face basis. Hence, this industry requires the employees to be have well balanced work-life culture to deal smoothly with their customers. Retail internationalisation has gained overwhelming focus during the recent years, as the concept of globalisation has attained maturity. This concept has given the well-established retailers like TESCO, Sainsbury, Wall-Mart, etc., to move into international markets with their strong domestic success. The new concepts in the Human Resource Management and the development in the globalisation has given lots of challenges to maintain employees at peace across culture and across global and international laws (Burt et al., 2005). Until late 1990s products were central to some organisations, including both intangible and tangible assets. Traditionally manufactures were concerned about the designing and production of goods, whilst retailers were engaged in gathering the products for directly selling to the customers.

Moving forward with the economic and cultural changes, the way the retailers work have been changed from just retailing the products and services to manufacture, market, and sell their goods and services and make it available to customers at all convenient levels. Thus the retail market has widened its business from selling to overall business opportunities. The retail industry has split further into various sectors and includes various types of products and contributing a major chunk to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of United Kingdom, both in the production output and employment rate (Varley, 2001). This evolution of retail business in the west especially in the Europe and United States has given lot of opportunities to the retail business to set up lots of projects under pipeline. This developed the construction and food industry in the United Kingdom and in most European countries. The development in the retail industry has widened the opportunities for the international students and the locals studying in United Kingdom. The retail industry in-spite of recession is doing good and pushing the economy from recession to recovery. During 2007, retail industry has produced the highest return in the property business. The retail business has increased the existence of shopping centres accommodating lots of restaurants, entertainment and other complexes which attracts a huge customer base (Dijkman, 2008).

The 2007-2008 economic crisis had shaken the entire industry from its development. Though the economic hit was hard, the retail industry jumped out from the storm to lead the economy towards recovery. The growth of high street business was slowed down during March 2009 and thereon, whereas more than 13% of retailers showed stronger sales during this period when compared to the same period a year ago in 2007. This proved the consumer spending is more in the retail industry and its plays an important challenge to the Human Resource Management to rightly take up this opportunity to develop their business. Hence Human Resource works out to fix employee satisfaction and employees benefit to increase their operational output (Wade, 2010).


Human Resource department has become the back bone of every organisation, and it is vital for the employees to know how it operates. In others view it is urged that Human Resource is an evil, a bureaucratic force enforcing unnecessary rules and regulations, restricting innovation and hinders the required changes. The Human Resource department is responsible in finding the suitable hires for the right job at the right time, which is considered as one of the main reason for increasing job stress and unsatisfactory level of performance (Mathis and Jackson, 2007). Any strategic activity by HRM is done once it has identified and analysed thoroughly the surroundings or environment where it operates. Hence, organisational culture plays a vital role in maintaining work life balance among its employees (Torrington et al., 2005). Human Resource Management (HRM) is considered as the basis of all management and not as the basis for business activity.

The old organisational culture of depending on product or services offered by them to increase the organisational performance does not hold well in modern developed economy. The employees or workers of the company are considered as the major asset to increase the organisational performance and brand image in the market. Managing these resources has to be done constantly by balancing the organisational needs and employees needs that work together to attain the corporate objectives. The changes in the workforce and expectations among the employees and companies HR managers have to work innovatively to convert their organisational background or culture a more friendly and efficient. Especially the employees working in the retail market is considered as the important market in the United Kingdom and are forms the major workforce (Boone, L., and Kurtz, D., 2008).


The modern technological world has witnessed changes in the policies and practices that have been followed in old organisational culture. It is very important for all brick-and-mortar organisations to adopt changes out from the introduction of electronic and web based practices, as the newly introduced web based practices changed the business-to-business practices, the activities of a marketplace, changes in the supply chain, and acts as a catalyst for business. These changes provide HR management with lots of challenges to maintain value in the system to attract the employees and make them satisfied with their work culture in order to maintain a balanced work-life culture to improve the organisational performance. The dot com business has changed the way the business was carried out and it has given a challenging work culture to the employees in all major sectors including the retail market. This revolutionary age has been the reason for Enron to file bankruptcy, and internet age is growing together with the business and globalisation and not going down. The growth in the B2B business and B2C business has enhanced the usage of eHRM within and outside the organisation. This has been a challenge to maintain work-life balance as this web based technology has introduced work from home culture, any time availability for work, etc., which disturbs the personal life at every moment (Torres-Coronas and Arias-Oliva, 2005).


“Work-life balance” is usually viewed as the lack of work-life conflict or mostly the strength in which where work life interferes with family life or vice versa (Grzywacz and Carlson, 2007). Work-life balance relates to the absence of conflict in their personal and professional life (Clark, 2000) as satisfaction and committed and dedicated work without any role conflicts (Guest, 20002). Shaw (2003) has stated that work-life balance extents to individuals who are engaged equally and fully satisfied in both places. It is also considered as “a global assessment that work resources meet family demands, and family resources meet work demands such that participation is effective in both domains” (Voydanoff, 2005; Grzywacz and Carlson, 2007). Work and leisure is no longer related to any certain kind of jobs or market, and it has become an international requirement for every organisation to compete with their rivals and maintain a satisfied employees group (Lewis, 2003). In terms of United Kingdom’s department of Trade and Industry, Work-Life balance is defined as the “about adjusting working patterns regardless of age, race or gender, [so] everyone can find a rhythm to help them combine work with their other responsibilities or aspirations” (Maxwell, 2005).

It is always considered that the work-life balance is very essential to maintain a health working conditions for the organisational benefit and for the benefit of its employees (Barnett, 1998; Edwards and Rothbard, 2000). Similarly, it had been proved by so many research works that the conditions of work life balance have its impact on the performance of the organisation (Kersley et al., 2005; Bureau of Labour, 2007). To maintain work and life a in a balanced scale, there are so many factors and so many persons to play in maintaining balance and harmony of their employees (Allen et al., 2006).

Work life balance concerns on employees having a measure to control about where, when and how they work (Clutterbuck, 2003), and the new policies are initiated in strengthening the work life balance in United Kingdom and European Union (DTI, 2002; Lewis et al., 2003) and it has been argued that the employees should co-ordinate various aspects of professional and personal life to have a balanced life. After the introduction of globalisation in the economy, most organisations including the retail firms have started to move across cultures and across oceans to increase their presence and customer base. So, it has seen an intense increase in the working people’s working hours and their working life, which has both positive and negative impact on individual’s professional and personal life (Lewis et al., 2003; Bryson et al., 2007; Bulger et al., 2007; Fereday, 2007).

This term work-life balance has come out to replicate the concerns the working individuals face to manage their lives equally to improve the living conditions of the society and the performance of the organisation (Greenblatt, 2002; de Cieri et al., 2005; Pocock, 2005; Bryson et al., 2007, Fleetwood, 2007, McDonald et al., 2007). The retail industries have grown to support the community and it has converted the main stores to provide 24/7 services to the society (Pryjmachuk and Richards, 2007). Supple working conditions facilitate autonomy in work place and it improves work-life balance of the employees (Barriball et al., 2007; Dwyer et al., 2007). Many organisations tout work-life balance as a value, and always the workaholics are given more rewards and respect. But this concept holds no good any more as the introduction of globalisation and its cultural impact has turned the organisations to show more interest in maintaining work-life balance for its employees. The modern era has created more leaders to pay their attention towards work-life balance and they moralize the good value of upholding a balanced life inside and outside the organisation.

It helps to improve more productivity while at work. Work and family issues are not the case during survival farmers and their families worked together to make a living. It has started once the family units made a male breadwinner for their house-wives. It was stated that during world war II, when most of the men in the west are out for war, the women population of more than70% were in the workforce, including pregnant women, which had been a hot topic of those times to maintain balance between their family commitments and to make a living (Shilling, 2009). It is very important to maintain a good balance especially when the employees have kids and old people to take care at home.

In the views of Shelton (2006), work-life disagreement is the form of inter-role issue starting due to stress originating from one or more roles and responsibilities. The bonus, pay and other options are great but at the same time every job has got its roles and responsibilities that gives pressures and has direct and indirect effects on the personal and organisational life. This depends on the leadership and managerial skills of the manager who manages the team (Flaum, 2009). Especially women employees are considered more sentimental and dedicated towards their personal and professional life and have less free time as they are tied up with family and society. Shelton (2006) created a hypothetical framework on the constructs based on role conflicts and role involvement to positive plans the effective strategies to reduce work-life conflicts, through influencing roles. The work-life conflict reduces the well-being of the organisational culture and gradually affects the overall organisational performance.


Since the introduction of globalisation and free trade, organisations started to move globally and freely with fewer restrictions on investments in the outside market and this has changed the roles and responsibilities of HRM. Originally the issue of work-life was considered as a problem between family and work (Lewis, 2003), and eventually it was argued that it’s not the issue between work and life, but between the organisational performance and employee satisfaction and dedication towards work. Furthermore the working timings of the employees were considered as one of the major issue to maintain a balanced work culture and they have introduced flexitime to challenge this issue. This issue broadened along men, women, families, and cultures of the organisations (Bird, 2006). Major research work considers individuals as a unit (Family or Team) and not as separate individual who works without any relationship with their sub-ordinates. Traditionally it is viewed as the absence of conflict among work and family, or the level of intensity or frequency of work interfering family or vice versa (Grzywacz and Carlson, 2007).


In many contexts it is considered whether the domestic models hold good in international podium, where the globalisation has changed the international business are carried out. In the global context the main issues to be examined is whether work interferes with life on certain outcomes. In United States it has been proved that the domestic work interferes more on personal life than in any other country, but in other global environments it is considered that personal life interfere with work. This depends on the responsibilities and roles the employees play within an organisation and their role in the family, hence considering both sides from life to work and work to life (Greenhaus, 1988; Dixbury and Higgins, 1991; Frone et al., 1997; Edwards and Rothbard, 2000; Shaffer et al., 2001).

The United Kingdom is facing lots of political issues out from people living longer, the changes in the needs of men and women in the labour market in terms of private life and other ways of working. Lots of models have been framed to calculate the work life balance of both genders at various periods and requirements of life. Shelton (2006) created a notional structure supporting role involvement and conflict to envisage the importance of strategies to lower the impacts of conflicts on balanced work culture or manoeuvring roles. This conflict is positively correlated with both organisational performance and family commitments. It is always considered that soaring levels of conflicts are expected for the female employees who have huge targets.


Frederick Taylor (1911) proposed that every job possibly will be measured by the amount of work completed and it is always linked with the number of ‘pieces’ finished or ‘piece rate’. This theory is based on the concept that harder the employees work the more rewarded they are. Taylor considered that monetary benefits serve as the motivational factor for the committed employees to work more efficiently and effectively.


Frederick Herzberg’s two factor model or motivation-hygiene theory states certain motivational factors that will have positive impact on the role of employees towards organisational development, like the good basic pay and clean work environment. It was considered that once these factors are in place it automatically keeps up the strengths of the employees to work dedicated for the organisations and stays with the organisations for a long time.


The above two theories were criticised by another great management guru, Maslow, where he showed that people needs to have certain basic needs like safe and secure workplace, emotional fulfilment, self esteem, relationship etc., to be with the organisation with their full committed minds and souls. This concept has gained its attraction since globalisation as it turned up many organisations to go international and grow parallel with the increasing technology and changing market culture.


Globalisation has changed the way the works are being carried out and it has changed the roles and responsibilities at each level of hierarchy, giving both positive and negative effects in their balanced life. This also includes the mental strength, changes in the physique, health effects, etc., which might be a reason out of its increased job pressure or imbalanced work-life.


The world worst economic crisis has given fears in the minds of workers at all levels of management and the management has restricted and reduced the spending on the organisational development in terms of employee benefits and other allowances, by considering cost effectiveness and cost cutting programmes to effectively handle the risked finance to reduce the risk of being cut. The increased concern about the security, family preferences, the multinational organisations are trying to implement various strategies to effectively use their capital for the retention of its skilled and talented employees by providing balanced work-life.

However, it is not the only remedy to be auctioned to gain a balanced work group (Harris and Brewster, 2003; Poelmans, 2005). In the perspective of employees, Work Life Balance is maintaining balance between the roles and responsibilities at home and at work. “Work Life Balance is the principle that paid employment should be integrated with domestic life and community involvement in the interests of personal and social well-being (Heery and Noon, 2008). Work Life Balance is not only the time we spend working against non-working. It is about how employees use their time to relax, work and energies themselves and spends time with their family and kids (Morgenstern, 2008). It is considered that there exist a direct relationship between the work life balance of the employees and the organisational performance. Work Life Balance is considered as a strategic model to implement lots of Human Resource polices and rules in order to change the organisational atmosphere and organisational culture of how the hierarchy works, i.e., either in the vertical way or horizontal way, leading to satisfied employees and managed which in turn leads to organisational success and improved growth.

Strategies of Work Life Balance in organisations includes roles and polices including flexible work arrangements, childcare, depends care and other personal and parental benefits (Blari-Hoy and Wharton, 2002; Hyman and Summers, 2004; De Cieri et al., 2005). It is considered that the widespread changes in work-life issues and changes in the workforce demography in developing and developed societies have increased issues of work-life balance (Fleetwood, 2007; Lewis et al., 2007). The increased pressure towards the multi skilled employees out from roles and responsibilities has changed the organisational environment and work culture (Campbell and Charlesworth, 2004). Emphasis on family is considered as more important and higher quality and any imbalance caused by work has a negative effect on both personal and professional life (Frone et al., 1992; Greenhaus et al., 2003; Singh, 2010).

Every job is considered to have an element of fun and it gives satisfaction and pleasure instead of stress and pressure. This directly and indirectly leads to the increased organisational output and innovation for the long strategic roles. The term has been in the field of Human Resource over the last two decades and it is considered a vital one in the developed and improve technological world. Work-Life balance is one of the major things to maintain balanced and motivated employees whom even monetary benefits cannot afford to improve the organisational performance. At times salary will not be an attractive one to hold back the employees within the organisation as a committed employee, but the balanced work-life culture provided by the organisations will hold the employees with commitment till their retirement in the same organisation (Mehra, 2010). Human Resource plays a vital role in maintaining transparency to ensure that the office environment doesn’t create pressure on their employees and their nature of work.

Work-Life balance has been very famous for the last two decades where technology started encroaching people’s time more and more. It is considered that the term itself inherent some problem which presupposes a separation among work and life. In United States most companies offer work-life balance programs to attain competitive advantage whereas in Europe and United Kingdom it is considered as a social responsibility but it is considered that both these terms are not different and the goals are intertwined wherein competitive advantage can be gained through recruiting skilled employees and retaining with socially responsible activities to enhance the reputation of the organisation.


Every organizations sets their workplace to be more attractive than their rivals to gain the competitive advantage through satisfying the employees needs and wants by providing balanced work-life culture. Some organisations still believe on the importance of money for the employees as they consider only monetary benefits motivate the individuals to work committed. Some companies find increasing

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