Date of Award

August 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Management Science

First Advisor

Margaret Shaffer

Second Advisor

Romila Singh

Committee Members

Noelle Chesley, Hong Ren, Xiaojing Yang


Family Crafting, Job Crafting, Negative Affect, Negative Family Reflection, Negative Work Reflection, Work-Nonwork Balance


Achieving balance between work and nonwork lives is important for individuals and organizations as it may generate various desirable outcomes, such as high role performance, positive role attitudes, and psychological and physiological well-being. However, scholars and practitioners have not reached a common understanding of the content and process of work-nonwork balance. A variety of work-nonwork balance definitions, theories, and measures, as well as numerous correlates, have emerged in this area. In addition, a majority of the studies focused on this topic have theorized work-nonwork balance as a stable construct and measured it in order to explain the between-individual variance. Consequently, we know little about the psychological processes whereby daily work and nonwork events can increase or decrease within-individual work-nonwork balance within a short period of time.

This three essay dissertation aims to address these gaps. Essay 1 presents a systematic review of past studies on work-nonwork balance. Extensive research has conceptualized and operationalized work-nonwork balance in various ways; in this essay, I classify these definitions into global and component approaches. I then provide a methodological review of work-nonwork balance research, summarize major themes and previous findings, and offer several recommendations for future research on work-nonwork balance.

Essays 2 and 3 are anchored in the review presented in Essay 1. In Essay 2, I develop and propose a model to examine how negative work task and relational events explain daily individuals’ satisfaction with work-family balance (a common form of work-nonwork balance) by triggering their cognitive and affective reactions. This model is based on the integration of Cognitive and Affective Processing System (CAPS) theory and Conservation of Resources (COR) theory (Mischel & Shoda, 1995; Hobfoll, 1989). Using these theories, I propose that negative work events explain within-person variance of work-family balance on a daily basis, and individuals’ negative work reflection and negative affect mediate the direct effects of negative work events on work-family balance. I also suggest that task and relational forms of job crafting (i.e., the proactive behaviors that employees actively engage in to redesign their jobs) (Wrzesniewski & Dutton, 2001), play a critical role in attenuating the detrimental effects of negative work events on the daily assessment of work-family balance. I use a daily diary study approach to examine the hypothesized relationships. Overall, the findings of Essay 2 support the prediction that work events have a detrimental influence on individuals’ cognitive and affective reactions and, subsequently, their daily assessments of work-family balance. Further, the results indicate that job crafting (i.e., task and relational crafting) moderate the relationships between negative work events and cognitive and affective reactions, but the effects are not in the hypothesized direction. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Essay 3 examines the parallel effects of negative family task and relational events on the daily assessment of satisfaction with work-family balance. The underlying theoretical frameworks used to propose and explain the hypothesized relationships are the same as the ones used in Essay 2 (i.e., CAPS and COR theories). Based on these theories, I propose that negative family events will influence work-family balance through their effects on negative family reflection and negative affect. In addition, task and relational forms of family crafting may buffer the effects of negative family events on individuals’ psychological reactions and satisfaction with work-family balance. A daily diary study is used to test the hypothesized model. The results provide limited support to the direct, indirect, and moderating relationships. The theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.

This dissertation makes three important contributions to the growing literature on work-nonwork balance. First, CAPS theory (Mischel & Shoda, 1995) and COR theory (Hobfoll, 1989) are integrated with research on work-family balance in order to provide a nuanced theoretical explanation of the within-person processes that emerge in the relationship between work and family events and daily assessments of work-family balance. Scholars have repeatedly emphasized the importance of considering the role of time in organizational behavior theory and research (e.g., Bluedorn & Denhardt, 1988; Mitchell & James, 2001). This dissertation responds to this call by explicitly examining the role of time as daily work and family events trigger cognitive and affective reactions, which in turn influence individuals’ satisfaction with work-family balance. By focusing on the dynamic cognitive and affective reactions that undergird daily negative work and family events and work-family balance, I break new ground and test a theoretically-based process in which demands emanating from different domains lead to work-family balance.

Second, I theorize and provide support for a multilevel model that examines within-person work-family balance. The findings from my dissertation suggest that satisfaction with work-family balance varies across time and is contingent on several daily work and family negative events as well as individuals’ cognitive and affective reactions to these events. I also contribute to the work-family literature by examining job and family crafting as proactive behavioral strategies that can attenuate the detrimental effects of work and family events on psychological reactions. The findings from my study offer valuable insights into the possibilities and limitations of pursuing job and family crafting as a buffer against the deleterious influence of negative work or family events. Finally, this dissertation makes a methodological contribution to work-family research by using a daily diary approach, which is effective in capturing the variances in work-family balance assessments over time. In sum, this dissertation significantly broadens our understanding of work-nonwork balance research in several ways and systematically illustrates the process by which employees arrive at their assessments of work-family balance on a daily basis.