Anticipation of work-life conflict in higher education

Susana Pasamar Reyes, Karen Johnston, Jagriti Tanwar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

330 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose - This paper aims to further the understanding about the relationship between work-life conflict and possible barriers to career progression due to the perception of anticipated work-life conflict, considering the unbounded nature of academic work through features such as its intensity, flexibility and perception of organizational support.

Design/methodology/approach - The model was tested using survey data from academics in a public university in the south of Spain. Hierarchical regression analyses were used to test the hypotheses.

Findings - The results reveal that current work-life conflict, job intensity and perception of support have a direct effect on the anticipation of work-life conflict in the event of progression in academic careers. The flexibility that academics enjoy is not sufficient to prevent the expected conflict. Academics’ age is relevant, but gender or having childcare responsibilities have no significant effect of the anticipation of conflict.

Research limitations/implications
- This study addresses the gap in the literature on anticipated work-life conflict, expanding the focus to non-family commitments in unbounded jobs such as academic posts. It is the first study which focuses on the anticipaction of work life conflict in the case of career advancement in/among current employees with professional experience or accurate knowledge of what job they will be doing instead of students. Work-life balance should not be restricted to women with caring responsabilities, as conflict is no longer only related to gender roles.

Originality/value - This paper not only explores existing work-life conflict but also empirically analyzes anticipated work-life conflict in unbounded careers such as academia. It represents a significant contribution in an under-researched field and may lead to future research in other settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-797
Number of pages21
JournalEmployee Relations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2020


  • Work-life conflict
  • anticipated work-life conflict
  • organizational support
  • flexibility
  • intensity
  • gender


Dive into the research topics of 'Anticipation of work-life conflict in higher education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this