chapter  3
20 Pages

A closer look at key concepts of the work–nonwork interface

In this chapter we adopt a critical view on whether there is a solid and consistent theoretical understanding of what the “work-nonwork interface” is. We challenge the theoretical meaning and practical value of different work-nonwork interface concepts by questioning whether current measures of conflict/enrichment are suitable to capture such constructs or whether more innovative measurement strategies are possible. Toward this end we overview existing key concepts and propose several venues for advancing research on the work-nonwork interface. Next, we propose the use of more neutral measures of work-nonwork experience and less reliance on survey items that imply causal attributions in relation to triggers of conflict and enrichment experiences. Further, we suggest within-person approaches (e.g. diary studies) to studying the work-nonwork interface can help uncover the nature of the experience, especially from an episodic perspective. Likewise, greater use of qualitative methods is also proposed to advance phenomenological understanding of the work-nonwork interface. Moreover, it is suggested that focusing solely on the interface between work and family does not capture the main roles that individuals are playing in the nonwork domain. Therefore, we suggest that the expansion of work-family literature to include also the relationship between work or family with the self is relevant. Moreover, we suggest that the detailed measurement/conceptualization of the family situation (at least as specific as the work situation) is also of paramount importance to further advance research into the work-nonwork interface. Finally, we propose that it is necessary to further improve the specification of the role of culture in the configuration of the experience of positive or negative work-nonwork interface relationships. With the suggestions that we offer, we aim to advance the conceptualization and measure of key concepts relevant for this domain.