The impacts of work-life-balance (WLB) challenges on social sustainability: the experience of Nigerian female medical doctors

Rahman Mushfiqur, Emeka Oruh, Uzoechi Nwagbara, Tonbara Mordi, Itari Mabel Turner

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    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the implications of work-life-balance (WLB) challenges for Nigerian female medical doctors. This study focusses on Nigeria, which its peculiar socio-cultural, institutional and professional realities constitute WLB as well as social sustainability (SS) challenge for female medical doctors.

    Design/methodology/approach: Relying on qualitative, interpretivist approach and informed by institutional theory, this study explores how Nigeria’s institutional environment and workplace realities engender WLB challenges, which consequently impact SS for female doctors. In total, 43 semi-structured interviews and focus group session involving eight participants were utilised for empirical analysis.

    Findings: The study reveals that factors such as work pressure, cultural expectations, unsupportive relationships, challenging work environment, gender role challenges, lack of voice/participation, and high stress level moderate the ability of female medical doctors to manage WLB and SS. It also identifies that socio-cultural and institutional demands on women show that these challenges, while common to female physicians in other countries, are different and more intense in Nigeria because of their unique professional, socio-cultural and institutional frameworks.

    Research limitations/implications: The implications of the WLB and SS requires scholarship to deepen as well as extend knowledge on contextual disparities in understanding these concepts from developing countries perspective, which is understudied.

    Originality/value: This study offers fresh insights into the WLB and SS concepts from the non-western context, such as Nigeria, highlighting the previously understudied challenges of WLB and SS and their implications for female doctors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)868-888
    Number of pages21
    JournalEmployee Relations
    Issue number5
    Early online date30 May 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2018


    • Female medical doctors
    • Institutional theory
    • Nigeria
    • Patriarchy
    • Social sustainability
    • WLB challenges


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