Dynamic and static work-family relationships

Ann E. Tenbrunsel*, Jeanne Brett, Eyal Maoz, Linda K. Stroh, Anne H. Reilly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


This study investigated the linkages between work and family of 281 dual-employed couples. First, we developed a theoretical framework, distinguishing between the causal direction and the sign of the relationship between work and family. We classified the social and psychological mechanisms that explain specific directions and signs of work-family relationships and reviewed the empirical literature from the point of view of this framework. We then provided an illustration of how this framework can be used to generate a model for a specific sample. We generated a model and corresponding hypotheses for a sample of dual-employed couples in which the male′s career was dominant and analyzed these hypotheses by testing males and females separately using LISREL 7. In our sample, the relationship between work and family was reciprocal for males, suggesting a dynamic system in which males were able to adjust one domain to compensate for the other. Females exhibited a unidirectional relationship from family to work involvement, suggesting a static system. For both males and females, the family → work involvement relationship was negative as hypothesized. For males, the work → family relationship was positive. There were some similarities and some differences in the influence of exogenous constructs in the models for males and females. Results are discussed in terms of the importance of understanding dynamic versus static models of work and family relationships and the potential role of organizations in helping their employees lower the fixed demands of the family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-246
Number of pages14
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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