A CRITICAL STUDY ON WORK-LIFE BALANCE AND ITS EFFECTS ON EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE (A CASE STUDY OF MERCHANT BANK- KORIDUA BRANCH)

A CRITICAL STUDY ON WORK-LIFE BALANCE AND ITS EFFECTS ON EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE (A CASE STUDY OF MERCHANT BANK- KORIDUA BRANCH)

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ABSTRACT

Work-Life Balance is increasing interest in academic literature, legislation and public sector. It is meaningful daily achievement and enjoyment in life. Organizations have started introducing various schemes to attract, retain employees and productivity. Majority employers support the work –life balance concept. 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.

The researcher used Merchant bank, Koforidua branch as a case study to find out the effects improper work-life balance has on the performance of employees in an organization.

Concerning methodology, data used in compiling this research were gathered from both primary and secondary sources. The management and employees of Merchant bank were issued questionnaires. Text Books, Magazines and News Papers on work-life balance were also used in compiling this research.

Based on the findings revealed from the data analysis and interpretation, the researcher came up with some suggestions and recommendations. The major findings in this study shows that 92% of the total respondents used for the study suffer from stress related problems brought about by the nature of their work. Majority of the respondents complained about common stress illness such as headaches, stomach pains etc, and their inability to balance family responsibilities with their jobs. However, the study went ahead to reveal that employee productivity is greatly affected by the individual’s ability to balance work and life, as employees with better family ties tend to be more happy and highly effective in their work place. These findings and recommendations, in view of the researcher, will help improve productivity and employee performance if implemented by the organizations in Ghana as well as the government of Ghana.

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

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:

  • Domestic and International Banking Operations for Corporate Customers, Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs)  and, High Net-worth Individuals;
  • Treasury Services
  • Money and Capital Market Operations
  • Hire Purchase and Leasing Services; and
  • Foreign Remittances

The Bank has two wholly owned specialised subsidiaries namely;

  • Merban Investment Holdings Limited (MIHL) - dealing in Funds/Portfolio Management, Money Market Operations, Investment Advisory Services, Trustee Services and Custodial and Nominee Services;
  • Merban Stockbrokers Limited (MSL) - dealing in Brokerage Services, Underwriting of new Issues, and Investor Search & Joint Venture Arrangement; and

The MBG group also has the following additional specialist services tailored to meet its customers' needs:

  • Registrar Services - maintaining records of Shareholders and Creditors, facilitating dividend payments to Shareholders; and
  • Corporate Finance & Advisory Services (CFAS)- handling Corporate restructuring, Joint Venture Arrangement, Company Valuation, Project Finance; Funds Sourcing, Issuing House Services and General Financial Advisory Services. And also dealing in Hire Purchase transactions and Leasing.

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.

Vision
To 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

Core Values

  • Performance-oriented organization
  • All decisions and actions must be based on Unshakeable Facts.
  • Must at all times conduct business with a sense of Competitive Urgency.
  • We must maintain High Ethical Standards in all our internal and external relationships.

The bank has over its 30 years of existence achieved a lot, notable amongst which are:

  • The establishment of hire purchase and leasing business in Ghana.
  • The promotion and formation of the first Discount House in Ghana.
  • Handled the share issues of 8 out of 10 companies when there was no Stock Exchange in Ghana in the 1970's.
  • The initiation of the preparatory work in the establishment of the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE).

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.


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