A Case Analysis on the Adequacy of Work-Life Balance Practices in UK Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Babatunde Akanji

Abstract


Objective: The purpose of this study is to examine whether work-life balance (WLB) practices are satisfactorily provided in UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the impact of the availability of these work-life policies on turnover intentions. A review of extant literature reveals scarce knowledge in this area of research and this study presents a rudimentary effort to fill this gap.

Research Design & Methods: Using qualitative design, the data set comprised of in-depth interviews with thirty-six employees working in small and medium-sized UK convenience stores and supermarkets with less than ninety employees.

Findings: Informal nature of human resource management policies emerged from the findings as one of the constraining forces impeding work-life agendas in SMEs and causing low staff retention in UK. Although other themes were found to contribute to retention challenges, however, these additional reasons were not independent, but all considered integrated.

Implications & Recommendations: Consequently, the practical implication of devising ways to overcome WLB and retention deficiencies in this context were also explored.

Contribution & Value Added: The originality of this work lies in studying the importance of WLB practices to some of these grass root businesses that make up a large proportion of the economy in the UK. As the limitation of this study is that it is wholly qualitative in nature, it is suggested that future research should rely on quantitative designs that provides more internally valid tests via computational techniques.


Keywords


UK SMEs; work-life balance; convenience supermarkets; low staff retention; turnover intentions

Full Text:

PDF

References


Barrett, R., & Burgess, J. (2008). Small firms and the challenges of equality, diversity and differ-ence. Equal Opportunities International, 27(3), 213-220.

Batt, R., & Valcour, P.M. (2003). Human resource practices as predictors of work-family outcomes and employee turnover. Industrial Relations, 42(2), 189-220.

Brotheridge, C.M., & Lee, R.T. (2005). Impact of work-family interference on general well-being: a replication and extension. International Journal of Stress Management, 12(3), 203-221.

Cassell, C., Nadin, S., Gray, M., & Clegg, C. (2002). Exploring human resource management prac-tices in small- and medium-sized enterprises. Personnel Review, 31(5), 671-695.

Cegarra-Leiva, D., Sanchez-Vidal, M., & Cegarra-Navarro, G. (2012). Understanding the link be-tween work-life balance practices and organizational outcomes in SMES: The mediating ef-fect of a supportive culture. Personnel Review, 41(3), 359-379.

Clark, S.C. (2000). Work-family border theory: a new theory of work-family balance. Human Rela-tions, 53, 747-770.

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2011). Research methods in education (7th ed.). Oxon: Routledge.

De Cieri, H., Holmes, B., Abbott, J., & Pettit, T. (2005). Achievement and challenges for work-life balance in Australian organizations. International Journal of Human Resources Management, 16(1), 90-103.

De Kok, J.M.P., Uhlaner, L.M., & Thurik, A.R. (2006). Professional HRM practices in family owned – managed enterprises. Journal of Small Business Management, 44(3), 441-460.

Dex, S., & Scheibl, F. (2001). Flexible and family-friendly working arrangements in UK-based SMEs: business cases. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 39(3), 411-431.

European Foundation Survey (2001). Jobs in EU Micro Firms: Summary, European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. Dublin.

Felstead, A., Jewson, N., Phizacklea, A., & Walters, S. (2002). Opportunisms to work at home in the context of work-life balance. Human Resources Management, 12, 54-76.

Ford, M.T., Heinen, B.A., & Langkamer, K.L. (2007). Work and family satisfaction and conflict: a meta-analysis of cross-domain relations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(1), 57-80.

Gonzales, L., Brown, M.S., & Slate, J.R. (2008). Teachers who left the teaching professions. A qualitative understanding. Qualitative Report, 13(1), 1-11.

GOV.UK (2016). Work-life balance in SMEs. Retrieved on February 24, 2016 from www.gov.uk/work+life+balance+in+SMEs.

Gregory, A., & Milner, S. (2009). Work-Life Balance: A matter of Choice. Gender, Work and Organi-sation, 16(1), 1-20.

Guest, E.D. (2002). Perspectives on the Study of Work-life Balance. Social Science Information, 41(2), 255-279.

Holt, M., & Powell, S. (2015). Health and well-being in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). What public health support do SMEs really need?. Perspectives in Public Health, 135(1), 49-55.

Hughes, J., & Bozionelos, N. (2007). Work life balance as a source of jog satisfaction and with-drawal attitudes: An exploratory study on the views of male workers. Personnel Review, 36(1), 145-154

Kossek, E.E., Kalliath, T., & Kalliath, P. (2012). Achieving employee wellbeing in a changing work environment: an expert commentary on current scholarship. International Journal of Man-power, 33(7), 738-753.

Lavoie, A. (2004). Work-life balance and SMEs: avoiding the ‘one-sized-fits-all trap’. CFIB Research - July, 1-13.

Lynch, J.E., & Tuckey, M. (2008). The policy turnover problem: fact or fiction?. Policing: An Interna-tional Journal of Police Strategies & Management. 31(1), 6-18.

Malik, F., McKie, L., Beatrie, R., & Hogg, G. (2010). A toolkit to support human resource practice. Personnel Review, 39(3), 287-307.

Manfredi, S., & Holliday, M. (2004). Work-life balance: an audit of staff experience at Oxford Brookes University. Oxford: The centre of diversity policy research, Oxford Brookes University.

McVicar, A., Munn-Giddings, C., & Seebohm, P. (2013). Workplace stress interventions using par-ticipatory action research designs. International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 6(1), 18-37.

Mihail, D.M. (2004). Labour flexibility in Greek SMEs. Personnel Review, (33)5, 549-560.

Moen, P., Kelly, E., & Huang, R. (2008). Fit inside the work-family black box: an ecology of the life course, cycles of control reframing. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 81, 411-433.

Özbilgin, M.F., Beauregard, T.A., Tatli, A., & Bell, M.P. (2010). Work–Life, Diversity and Intersec-tionality: A Critical Review and Research Agenda. International Journal of Management Re-views, 13(2), 1-22.

Robbins S.P. (1998). Organizational Behaviour. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall International.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2012). Research methods for business students (6th ed.). London: Prentice Education Limited.

Statistical release on the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (2011). Statistical data. Retrieved on August 4, 2015 from http://stats.bis.gov.uk/ed/bpe/ on 04/08/2015.

Smith, J.A., & Osborn, M. (2003). Interpretative phenomenological analysis. In J.A. Smith (Ed.), Qualitative Psychology: A practical guide to research methods (pp. 51-80). London: Sage Pub-lications.

Smith, J.A. (1996). Beyond the divide between cognition and discourse: using interpretative phe-nomenological analysis in health psychology. Psychology and Health, 11, 261-271.

Toker, B. (2011). Job satisfaction of academic staff: an empirical study on Turkey. Quality Assur-ance in Education, 19(2), 156-169.

Walker, E., Wang, C., & Redmond, J. (2008). Women and work-life balance: is home-based busi-ness ownership the solution?. Equal Opportunities International, 27(3), 258-275.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.15678/EBER.2017.050311