Today, work-life balance has become an increasingly pervasive concern to both employers and employees of most organisations. Work-life balance which primarily deals with an employee’s ability to properly prioritize between work and his or her lifestyle, social life, health, family etc., is greatly linked with employee productivity, performance and job satisfaction. Where there is proper balance between work and life, employees tend to put in their best efforts at work, because their family is happy. Most research studies have shown that when there are happy homes, work places automatically become conflict free and enjoyable places to be. Increasing attrition rates and increasing demand for work-life balance have forced organisations to look beyond run of the mill Human Resources interventions. As a result, initiatives such as flexible working hours, alternative work arrangements, leave policies and benefits in lieu of family care responsibilities and employee assistance programmes have become a significant part of most of the company benefit programmes and compensation packages.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY AND ORGANIZATIONAL PROFILE
The origins of research on work-life balance can be traced back to studies of women having multiple roles. Barnett and Baruch (1985) investigated the psychological distress connected to the balance of rewards and concerns generated by individual women’s multiple roles as paid worker, wife and mother. They found that positive role quality – more rewards than concerns experienced in a given role – was related to low levels of role overload, role conflict and anxiety. Based on their research, Barnett and Baruch defined role balance as a “rewards minus concerns” difference score which could range from positive to negative values.
Over the past two decades, various studies on work-life balance practices have been conducted and have been discussed in publications representing a number of different academic disciplines – economics (e.g., Johnson & Provan, 1995; Whitehouse & Zetlin, 1999), family studies (e.g., Hill, Hawkins, Ferris, & Weitzman, 2001; Raabe, 1990), gender studies (e.g., Nelson, Quick, Hitt, & Moesel, 1990; Wayne & Cordeiro, 2003), industrial relations (e.g., Batt & Valcour, 2003; Eaton, 2003), information systems (e.g., Baines & Gelder, 2003; Frolick, Wilkes, & Urwiler, 1993), management (e.g., Konrad & Mangel, 2000; Perry-Smith & Blum, 2000), social psychology (e.g., Allen & Russell, 1999; Hegtvedt, Clay-Warner, & Ferrigno, 2002), and sociology (e.g., Blair-Loy & Wharton, 2002; Glass & Estes, 1997). The most common approach is to view work-life balance practices through a business case lens: that is, by offering these practices, organizations attract new members and reduce levels of work-life conflict among existing ones, and this improved recruitment and reduced work-life conflict enhance organizational effectiveness.
A review of the literature, however, questions this purported link between work-life balance practices and organizational effectiveness. The majority of studies investigating the outcomes of work-life practices do not measure work-life conflict, and thus cannot support this proposed mediated relationship (Eby, Casper, Lockwood, Bordeaux, & Brinley, 2005). The mechanisms by which the provision of work-life practices affects both employee behaviour and organizational performance remain unclear, and under-researched (Allen, 2001; Schutte & Eaton, 2004). The results of a number of studies reviewed in this paper appear to suggest that work-life balance practices do not necessarily influence levels of employee work-life conflict, but instead improve organizational performance via other routes, such as reduced overheads in the case of employees working from home, improved productivity Work-Life among employees working at their peak hours, or social exchange processes arising from perceptions of organizational support (e.g., Allen, 2001; Apgar, 1998; Shepard, Clifton, & Kruse, 1996).
This study examines the literature to identify the various ways in which organizational work-life practices may influence organizational performance. Using a wide range of studies from a variety of disciplines, the empirical support available for the link between work-life practices and organizational performance at both the individual and organization level of analysis is reviewed. Integrating the literature in this fashion provides us with important new insights regarding potential moderators and mediators of the link between work-life practices and organizational performance, and suggests new research questions that may further enhance our understanding of how (or if) this link operates.
1.2.1 COMPANY PROFILE
According to MerchantbankGhana.com, Merchant Bank Ghana Limited (MBG) is a limited liability company is one of the leading Banks in the country. It was incorporated in August 1971 and commenced business in March 1972 as the first merchant bank in Ghana. Merchant Bank Ghana Limited (MBG) provides a comprehensive range of banking services to its customers and clients, using its worldwide network of correspondent banks and their agencies. The range of MBG's banking services includes:
The Bank has two wholly owned specialised subsidiaries namely;
The MBG group also has the following additional specialist services tailored to meet its customers' needs:
The bank has taken advantage of the opportunities offered by the introduction of Universal Banking Business in Ghana and MBG has fully developed all three areas of universal banking namely; Retail, Corporate and Investment. The branch network of Merchant Bank currently stands at twenty-two (22).
Mission As a universal Bank in Ghana, Merchant Bank (Ghana) limited is committed to providing quality financial products and services to our customers across our chosen market and maintaining our place as a leading and preferred financial institution in Ghana.
VisionTo become the leading, the most influential and best performing financial service provider in Ghana by 2012 and one of the leading banks in West Africa by 2015
The bank has over its 30 years of existence achieved a lot, notable amongst which are:
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
Lack of work flexibility, high work pressure and longer working hours are stressing out many Ghanaian workers, reducing their job performance and productivity as well as causing broken homes. In the community, there is growing concern that the quality of home and community life is deteriorating. These have resulted to poor employee input and performance at his or her job place, because an employee, who finds it difficult to properly balance his or her family life, tends to also have difficulties managing tasks at his or her workplace, therefore resulting in poor employee performance. Sparks, Cooper, Fried and Shirom, (1997) in their study provide some indication that when people spend too many hours at work, and spend less with their families, their health and work performance begin to deteriorate. There are various explanations for this associated with affluence, the growth of single parent families, the privatization of family life and the lack of local resources and facilities In addition, the pressures and demands of work, reflected both in longer hours, more exhaustion and the growth of evening and weekend work leave less scope for “quality” family time. The consequences include increases in juvenile crime, more drug abuse, a reduction in care of the community and in community participation and less willingness to take responsibility for care of elderly relatives and for the disadvantaged. While steps to redress these concerns transcend work and employment, it is nevertheless argued that the demands of work contribute to a reduced participation in non-work activities resulting in an imbalance.
Moreover, there is a view, widely promoted by some management writers but not strongly supported by sound empirical evidence, that workers are less willing to display unlimited commitment to the organization. One reason offered for this is the changing nature of the psychological contract at work; turbulence in organizations has made it less feasible to offer secure progressive careers and therefore to justify why workers should be committed.
1.3 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The objectives of the study are:
1. To examine various Work-Life balance practices/programs that exist in Merchant bank, Koforidua.
2. To identify work-Life balance challenges faced by employees of Merchant bank, Koforidua.
3. To identify the influence of imbalance Work-Life practices on organizational performance of Merchant bank, Koforidua, and the social life of its employees.
4. To identify ways of enhancing proper Work-Life balance practices amongst employees of Merchant bank, Koforidua.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What Work-Life balance practices exist in Merchant bank, Koforidua?
2. What are the Work-Life challenges faced by employees of Merchant bank, Koforidua?
3. What are the influences of imbalance work-life practices on organizational performance and social life of employees?
4. In what ways can proper work-life practices be enhanced to boost performance in Merchant bank, Koforidua?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study seeks to bring out the various work-life balance practices which Merchant Bank has undertaken to increase its productivity and contribute its quota in the economic development of the communities which it operates, and the country at large. This study will therefore help enlighten management of various organizations of the various effects of work-life balance practices on the performance of employees in an organization. The study will also bring out specifically, the work-life balance practices which the bank has been able to make available to its employees. It also seeks to bring out the level of encouragement and motivation the bank has given to its employees to work effectively, among others. The importance of this study is therefore to highlight the various employee work-life balance practices and how it affects the productivity of an organization. This study will go a long way to illustrate how organizations should treat its employees’ in-order to increase productivity.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of the research will be limited to Merchant Bank at the New Juaben Municipal Assembly in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The research will rely on the bank for vital information as well as information from secondary source. The research will take duration of four months to complete.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The researcher encountered a limitation in regards to availability of information. Thus due to the institutions working ethics, the researcher could not get access to vital information since it was treated as confidential and the targeted respondent’s number was not attained since some employees were on leave. Inadequate funds and availability of time also became a limitation.
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