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International Journal of Manpower

Work-family conflict and job satisfaction in stressful working environments: The


moderating roles of perceived supervisor support and internal locus of control
Yu Ru Hsu,
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Yu Ru Hsu, (2011) "Workfamily conflict and job satisfaction in stressful working environments: The
moderating roles of perceived supervisor support and internal locus of control", International Journal of
Manpower, Vol. 32 Issue: 2, pp.233-248, https://doi.org/10.1108/01437721111130224
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(2013),"Work-family conflict and job and family satisfaction: Moderating effect of social support among
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(2012),"Work-family conflict and individual consequences", Journal of Managerial Psychology,
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Work-family
Work-family conflict and job conflict
satisfaction in stressful working
environments
233
The moderating roles of perceived supervisor
support and internal locus of control
Yu Ru Hsu
Department of Business Administration, Chang Jung Christian University,
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Tainan, Taiwan

Abstract
Purpose This study aims to examine the moderating effects of perceived supervisor support (work
environment variable) and internal locus of control (personality variable) on the relationship of
work-family conflict with job satisfaction.
Design/methodology/approach Questionnaire surveys were administered. Data were collected
from correctional officers in Taiwan. Hierarchical regression analysis was used to test the hypotheses.
Findings Results show that work-family conflict has a negative effect on job satisfaction. Perceived
supervisor support and internal locus of control not only have direct effects on job satisfaction but also
significantly moderate the relationship between work-family conflict and job satisfaction.
Practical implications This study suggests that a supportive leadership style, and a mentoring
and training program, among others, may help reduce work-family conflict and increase the job
satisfaction of Taiwanese correctional officers.
Originality/value This study contributes to the extant work-family conflict and correctional
literature. The moderating effects of perceived supervisor support and internal locus of control are
explored to further elaborate on the relationship between work-family conflict and job satisfaction.
Keywords Family life, Job satisfaction, Conflict
Paper type Research paper

Introduction
The role of correctional officers is generally recognized as tough, demanding, and highly
stressful (Auerback et al., 2003; Lambert et al., 2002). Correctional organizations rely
heavily on their officers to perform the central task of supervising and securing
unwilling and potentially violent populations (Armstrong and Griffin, 2004, p. 577).
Since correctional facilities (e.g. prisons, detention centers, and drug abuse treatment
centers) constantly operate on rotating shifts, officers are required to work on different
schedules, even on weekends and holidays. Understaffing results in mandated overtime
for on duty correctional officers. Periodic transfers to other correctional institutions are
likewise common among correctional officers who hold managerial posts. If no
managerial vacancies are available in their places of residence, these officers cannot
leave their current assignments until a vacancy opens up. These working conditions International Journal of Manpower
Vol. 32 No. 2, 2011
pp. 233-248
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
The author would like to thank the editor and the anonymous reviewers for their comments and 0143-7720
suggestions, which greatly improved this article. DOI 10.1108/01437721111130224
IJM could interfere with the family lives of correctional officers and cause work-family
conflict. Thus, this study focuses on Taiwanese correctional officers as samples for an
32,2 in-depth study of work-to-family conflict, here referred to as the demands of an
individuals work role spilling over into his or her family role (Kossek and Ozeki, 1998).
The relationship between work-family conflict and job satisfaction has been
explored extensively in existing work-family conflict literature. Most studies have
234 found a negative relationship between these two variables (Anderson et al., 2002; Boles
and Babin, 1996; Frye and Breaugh, 2004). However, except for the study by Lambert
et al. (2002), there is very little evidence on the relationship between work-family
conflict and job satisfaction in the extant correctional research. Therefore, the first
objective of this study is to determine if work-family conflicts experienced by
Taiwanese correctional officers result in a negative perception of their job satisfaction,
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noting that the former variable is known to significantly affect the job satisfaction of
correctional officers (Lambert et al., 2002).
Past studies have also shown that perceived supervisor support helps individuals
decrease work-family conflict (Anderson et al., 2002; Frye and Breaugh, 2004). Noor
(2006) examined locus of control, supportive workplace policies, potential moderators,
and work-family conflict among 142 Malaysian employees. Regression analysis results
showed that locus of control directly impacts work-family conflict. Prior research clearly
indicates that perceived supervisor support (work environment variable) and internal
locus of control (personality variable) are significant antecedents of work-family conflict.
However, the present study specifically considers these two variables as potential
moderators. In facing a situation where the correctional work is likely to spill over the
family responsibility, this study expects that Taiwanese correctional officers who have
higher supervisory support and, in the meantime, possess a higher internal locus of
control may help them moderate the influence of work-family conflict on their job
satisfaction. This constitutes the second objective of this study.

Literature review
Work-family conflict
Greenhaus and Beutell (1985, p. 77) defined work-family conflict as a form of inter-role
conflict in which the role pressures from work and family domains are mutually
incompatible in some respect. That is, participation in the work (family) role is made more
difficult by virtue of participation in the family (work) role. Responsibilities at work and
in the family are obviously important to most individuals; however, when taken together,
these responsibilities often result in conflicting demands (Boles et al., 1997).
The definition implies that work-family conflict is bi-directional. Conflict may arise
from either domain: work-to-family conflict (WFC) or family-to-work conflict (FWC)
(Stoeva et al., 2002). WFC occurs when employees bring problems and stress from work
to their homes that negatively influence the quality of family life. FWC occurs when
family responsibilities interfere with an individuals work-related duties. Although
these two distinct conflicts are inter-correlated (Carlson et al., 2000; ODriscoll et al.,
2004; Netemeyer et al., 1996), prior studies have consistently demonstrated that
working adults with families typically report more work-to-family conflicts than
family-to-work conflicts (Kinnunen et al., 2003; Kossek and Ozeki, 1998; Lambert et al.,
2002). Due to the nature of correctional work, this study follows past research by
primarily focusing on the work-to-family conflict of Taiwanese correctional officers.
Effect of work-family conflict on job satisfaction Work-family
Job satisfaction, as an outcome variable of work-family conflict, is defined here as a
pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of ones job
conflict
(Locke, 1976, p. 1300). Studies have reported that individuals who claim work-family
conflict are generally unsatisfied with their jobs.
Numerous studies support the negative relationship between work-family conflict
and job satisfaction (Anderson et al., 2002; Boles and Babin, 1996; Frye and Breaugh, 235
2004; Kossek and Ozeki, 1998). Netemeyer et al. (1996) reported that work-family
conflict relates to work-related outcomes such as organizational commitment, job
satisfaction, and turnover intention. Pasewark and Viator (2006) reported that
accounting professionals feel dissatisfied with their work when work activities
interfere with family matters. However, some studies do not report the same findings
(Aryee et al., 1999; Lyness and Thompson, 1997).
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To date only Lambert et al. (2002) has studied the effect of work-family conflict on
job satisfaction among correctional officers. Through a survey of Midwestern prison
employees, after controlling for role conflict, role ambiguity, danger, and personal
characteristics, they found that time-based work-to-family conflict negatively affects
job satisfaction. Owing to the nature of correctional work (e.g. shifts, rotation on
weekends/holidays, and job transfers), this study predicts that Taiwanese correctional
officers may experience work-family conflict, which in turn could negatively affect
their job satisfaction.
Thus, the following hypothesis is proposed:
H1. Work-family conflict has a negative effect on job satisfaction. Specifically,
Taiwanese correctional officers who perceive a higher level of work-family
conflict will experience less job satisfaction.

Moderating role of perceived supervisor support


Based on social exchange relationships, perceived supervisor support refers to the
perception of employees regarding their relationship with their supervisor and how
well they can rely on the supervisor to care for their individual concerns. Gagnon and
Michael (2004, p. 173) described perceived supervisor support as the degree to which
an employee feels that they are supported by their supervisor. Herriot and Pemberton
(1997) stressed that supervisors are usually the crucial persons or agents responsible
for maintaining the psychological contract of employees[1]. Thus, supervisory support
has a significant effect on employees well-being.
Under social exchange relationships, employees are more likely to remain with an
organization if they feel that their supervisors value their contributions and well-being,
communicate well with them, and treat them with respect and recognition (Eisenberger
et al., 2002). In other words, a high supervisory support climate produces a reciprocal
relationship in which employees feel emotionally connected and obligated to repay
their supervisor and/or organization by staying in the company (Eisenberger et al., 2002).
Boles and Babin (1996) reported that perceived coworker involvement and
supervisory support could reduce work stress and enhance job satisfaction among
retail employees. Ng and Sorensen (2008) compared the effect of perceived supervisor
and coworker support on work attitudes and found that perceived supervisor support
was more strongly related to job satisfaction, affective commitment, and turnover
intention, as opposed to perceived coworker support. By studying employees of
high-tech firms and government agencies, McCalister (2003) examined the extent to
IJM which work environment variables (coworker support and supervisor support) and
personality disposition variables (hardiness and negative affect) impact work stress and
32,2 job satisfaction; results revealed that coworker support, supervisor support, hardiness,
and negative affect all significantly influence work stress and job satisfaction.
In addition, substantial evidences likewise link perceived supervisor support with
work-family conflict (Allen, 2001; Anderson et al., 2002; Frye and Breaugh, 2004). The
236 correctional work setting (i.e. prisons and detention centers), unlike in other
occupations, requires employees to maintain a state of constant alertness geared to the
possibility of trouble in which the initiative rests with the inmates (Poole and Regoli,
1980, p. 216). Shifting schedules, job transfers, and mandatory overtime are integrated
in the work life of correctional employees. Since past studies have demonstrated that
supervisory support increases job satisfaction and reduces work-family conflict, this
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study assumes that supervisory support moderates the effect of work-family conflict
on job satisfaction. Hence, the following hypotheses are developed:
H2. Perceived supervisor support has a positive effect on job satisfaction.
Taiwanese correctional officers who perceive a higher level of supervisory
support will have higher job satisfaction.
H3. Perceived supervisor support moderates the effect of work-family conflict on
the job satisfaction of Taiwanese correctional officers. This relationship is
stronger for officers with lower perceived supervisor support compared to
officers with higher perceived supervisor support.

Moderating role of internal locus of control


The concept of locus of control (originally Locus of control of reinforcement) was first
developed within Rotters (1954) framework of the social learning theory of personality.
As a stable personality trait, locus of control pertains to the common, cross-situational
beliefs people hold that determine whether they obtain positive or negative results in
their lives (Rotter, 1966). Every individual can be placed along a continuum from the
very internal to the very external. Those with strong internal locus of control (internals)
believe that they are entirely responsible for what happens to them, and that their
failures and successes are borne out of their own efforts. In contrast, those possessing
weak internal control (externals) believe that destiny, chance, or other more powerful
factors determine their lives, and that their own efforts have an insignificant impact on
their failures or successes.
Spector (1982) reported that 5-25 percent of the variance in a persons work behavior
could be attributed to perceptions regarding locus of control (i.e. internal versus
external). Even when working in the same organization, internals and externals engage
in different work behaviors. When confronted with obstacles, for instance, externals
exert less effort, believing that the result has already been decided; externals tend to be
reactive and negative. In contrast, internals expend extra effort to overcome obstacles
and achieve their objective; internals exhibit active and positive work behaviors.
Previous studies have claimed that employees with higher internal locus of control
tend to have higher levels of job satisfaction and performance (Bradley and Roberts, 2004;
Judge and Bono, 2001; Kircady et al., 2002) and cope better in stressful situations than
employees with higher external locus of control (Lam and Shaubroeck, 2000). Similarly,
Chen and Silverthorne (2008) surveyed a pool of accounting professionals in Taiwan and
found that individuals with high levels of internal locus of control are more likely to have Work-family
low levels of job stress, and high levels of job satisfaction and job performance.
With respect to the relationship between locus of control and work-family conflict,
conflict
only two empirical studies can be found. Noor (2006) examined locus of control,
supportive workplace policies, and work-family conflict in a sample of 142 Malaysian
employees. Results of his regression analysis showed that locus of control had a direct
effect on work-family conflict. Meanwhile, Andreassi and Thompson (2007) predicted a 237
negative relationship between internal locus of control and work-family conflict in their
study. Their results demonstrated that internal locus of control was negatively related
to work-family conflict.
Although prior studies have indicated that internal locus of control is positively
related to job satisfaction and negatively related to work-family conflict, evidence on
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internal locus of control as a potential moderator of the relationship between


work-family conflict and job satisfaction is not evident in current correctional and
work-family literature. Yet, this study expects that Taiwanese correctional officers
with high internal locus of control are more likely to be satisfied with their work and
identify ways to overcome work and family demands, as compared to those with low
internal locus of control. In this instance, internal locus of control may be a crucial
moderator in the relationship between work-family conflict and job satisfaction. As
such, the following hypotheses are proposed:
H4. Internal locus of control has a positive effect on job satisfaction. Taiwanese
correctional officers who have a higher level of internal locus of control will
have higher job satisfaction.
H5. Internal locus of control moderates the effect of work-family conflict on the job
satisfaction of Taiwanese correctional officers. This relationship is stronger
for officers with lower internal locus of control compared to officers with
higher internal locus of control.
According to the hypotheses above, a proposed model is developed (Figure 1).

Methods
Sample and procedure
Data used in this study were obtained from correctional officers in Taiwan. Taiwans
correctional system involves a diverse range of institutions, including prisons,

Figure 1.
A proposed model
IJM detention centers, drug abuse treatment centers, training institutes, juvenile reform
schools, and juvenile correction schools. Questionnaires were mailed to five prisons,
32,2 seven detention centers, two drug abuse treatment centers, and one training institute.
The chief guards in these institutions were requested to distribute the questionnaires to
officers with families/children. To ensure confidentiality, an addressed, postage-paid
return envelope was provided with each questionnaire to enable respondents to
238 directly return the questionnaires. Of the 835 questionnaires distributed, 794 completed
questionnaires were returned. After discarding invalid questionnaires, 518 usable
questionnaires were retained, yielding a response rate of 62 percent.
The demographic characteristics of there respondents can be broken down as
follows: 19 percent officers are women while 81 percent are men; 64 percent are married
while 36 percent are divorced or widowed; 16 percent are below 30, 41 percent are
31-40, and 45 percent are above 41 years old; and 42 percent work during the day shift,
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while 58 percent work during the night shift.

Measures
The measures consisted of items with response options ranging from 1 (strongly
disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). A higher score indicates greater variable strength.
All of the measures were adopted from studies outside the correctional field; thus, all
questionnaire items were reworded to fit the Taiwanese correctional context. A vice
correctional superintendent, a chief guard, and an academic scholar specialized in
organizational behavior have been invited to examine the suitability of the measure
items. Since the data from the present study were collected from Taiwan, all measures
were translated from English into Chinese, and then back-translated into English to
ensure equivalency of meaning (Brislin, 1980).
Work-family conflict. Five items adapted from the work of Netemeyer et al. (1996) were
used to measure employee perception of the degree to which work interferes with family
life. An example of an item for the scale is the demands of my correctional work interfere
with my family life. Scores were calculated by taking the average of the five items.
Perceived supervisor support. This construct was measured by adapting the
eight-item measure developed by Shinn et al. (1989). An example of an item for the
scale is help is available from my supervisor if I have a problem (e.g. concerning work
shifts, rotation on weekends/holidays, or job transfers). Scores were calculated by
taking the average of the eight items.
Internal locus of control. This scale was measured using 16 items adapted from the
work of Spector (1988). An example of an item for the scale is I am capable of doing
my correctional job well if I make the effort. Higher scores represent a higher internal
locus of control, while lower scores represent a more external locus of control. Scores
were calculated by taking the average of the 16 items.
Job satisfaction. The job satisfaction scale was adapted from the work of Stringer
(2006) who used the short form of the Minnesota satisfaction questionnaire (MSQ)
developed by Weiss et al. (1967). The average score of the 20 items was used to assess
the attitudes of respondents regarding their job content. An example of an item for the
scale is I am satisfied that I have a chance to be of service of others.

Control variables
Similar to prior research, this study included gender, martial status, and age as
controls as these variables are known to be closely related to work-family conflict
(Andreassi and Thompson, 2007) and job satisfaction (Sharma and Jyoti, 2009). Work
shift was also included. Since correctional institutions operate on rotating shifts, such Work-family
work pattern may affect the work-family conflict and job satisfaction of Taiwanese
correctional officers.
conflict
Gender was measured by a dichotomous variable wherein (0) was designated for men
and (1) for women. Marital status was also measured by a dichotomous variable, with (0)
designated for married individuals and (1) for other categories (i.e. divorced or widowed).
Age was measured in continuous years and was classified into three categories: 239
.
below 30;
.
31-40; and
.
41 years old and above.
Regarding work shift, day shift was coded (0) and night shift was coded (1).
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It should be noted that if a variable is significantly correlated with the independent


variable (IV) and the dependent variable (DV), it could be controlled to make the IV-DV
relationship weak. This variable used as a control can then attenuate the common
method variance (CMV) threat (Podsakoff et al., 2003). In the present study, the results
of correlation analysis show that self-efficacy is significantly related to work-family
conflict (r 2 0.13, p , 0.01) and job satisfaction (r 0.18, p , 0.01). Hence, it is used
as a control variable to partial out the CMV problem.
Self-efficacy was measured using 17 items adapted from the general self-efficacy
scale developed by Sherer et al. (1982). The scale items describe how individuals feel
about their ability to achieve goals. A total of 11 negatively worded items were
reversely coded. An example of an item for the scale is When unexpected problems or
crises occur (e.g. assaults, suicides, escapes, and others), I do not handle them well.
Scores were calculated by taking the average of the 17 items.

Results
The means, standard deviations, intercorrelations, and internal consistency reliabilities
for the measures (work-family conflict, perceived supervisor support, internal locus of
control, job satisfaction) used in this study are reported in Table I. In terms of personal
characteristics, gender is not significantly correlated with work-family
conflict (r 20:05, p . 0.05), it is significantly and negatively correlated with job
satisfaction (r 20:11, p , 0.05). Marital status is significantly and negatively
correlated with work-family conflict (r 20:10, p , 0.05) but is not significantly
correlated with job satisfaction (r 20:09, p . 0.05). Age is significantly and
negatively correlated with work-family conflict (r 20:10, p , 0.05), but is not
significantly correlated with job satisfaction (r 0:05, p . 0.05). Work shift is
negatively correlated with both work-family conflict (r 20:01, p . 0.05) and job
satisfaction (r 20:08, p . 0.05).
Moreover, work-family conflict (r 20:10, p , 0.05) is negatively related to job
satisfaction. Perceived supervisor support (r 0:59, p , 0.01) and internal locus of
control (r 0:38, p , 0.01) are positively related to job satisfaction. The results in
Table I provide preliminary support for H1, H2, and H4.
To examine the moderating effects of perceived supervisor support and internal
locus of control on the relationship between work-family conflict and job satisfaction, a
hierarchical regression analysis was conducted in this study. The control variables
(gender, marital status, age, work shift, and self-efficacy) were entered in the first step;
the independent variable (work-family conflict) was added in the second step; and the
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IJM
32,2

240

Table I.

reliabilities
Means, standard
deviations, correlations,
and internal consistency
Variables Mean SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

1. Gender 0.81 0.39 1.0


2. Marital status 0.64 0.48 0.37 * * 1.0
3. Age 2.28 0.74 0.15 * * 0.46 * * 1.0
4. Work shift 0.58 0.49 0.16 * * 20.03 20.15 * * 1.0
5. Perceived supervisor support 3.40 0.69 2 0.13 * * 20.13 * * 0.01 2 0.14 * * (0.91)
6. Internal locus of control 3.48 0.45 2 0.11 * * 0.06 0.09 2 0.05 0.40 * * (0.87)
7. Self-efficacy 3.78 0.36 2 0.05 0.06 0.06 2 0.06 0.21 * * 0.44 * * (0.88)
8. Work-family conflict 3.50 0.80 2 0.05 20.10 * 20.10 * 2 0.01 20.09 * 2 0.17 * * 20.13 * * (0.84)
9. Job satisfaction 3.23 0.63 2 0.11 * 20.09 0.05 2 0.08 0.59 * * 0.38 * * 0.18 * * 2 0.10 * (0.89)
Notes: n 518; *p , 0.05; * *p , 0.01, all two-tailed tests; reliability estimates appear in parentheses along the diagonal
moderating variables (perceived supervisor support and internal locus of control) were Work-family
added in the third step. The interaction terms obtained by multiplying the moderator conflict
variables (perceived supervisor support and internal locus of control) and the
independent variable (work-family conflict) were added in the last step. Table II
presents the results of the moderated regression analyses.
The results in Table II show that work-family conflict (b 20:11, p , 0.05) has a
negative effect on job satisfaction (step 2), indicating that Taiwanese correctional officers 241
who experience work-family conflict tend to have lower job satisfaction. The results thus
support H1. As for the relationship between perceived supervisor support and job
satisfaction, results show that perceived supervisor support (b 0:63, p , 0.001) has a
positive effect on job satisfaction (step 3), suggesting that the higher the perceived
supervisor support, the higher the job satisfaction. Thus, H2 is supported.
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With respect to the moderator hypothesis (Table II, step 4), results reveal that the
interaction term for perceived supervisor support and work-family conflict is
significant (b 0:40, p , 0.05). To examine the nature of the interaction, this study
plotted the values of plus and minus one standard deviation from the means of
perceived supervisor support based on the described procedures of Aiken and West
(1991). As predicted, the association between work-family conflict and job satisfaction
is contingent on the level of perceived supervisor support (Figure 2). Specifically, the

Job satisfaction
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4

Step 1
Control variables
Gender 20.07 20.07 20.03 2 0.02
Marital status 20.11 * 20.11 * 20.02 2 0.02
Age 0.09 0.08 0.05 0.05
Work shift 20.05 20.05 0.03 0.03
Self-efficacy 0.17 * * * 0.17 * * * 20.01 2 0.01
Step 2
Independent variable
Work-family conflict 20.11 * 20.09 * * 0.23
Step 3
Moderating variables
Perceived supervisor support 0.63 * * * 0.33 *
Internal locus of control 0.13 * * * 0.53 * *
Step 4
Interaction terms
Work-family conflict Perceived supervisor
support 0.40 *
Work-family conflict internal locus of control 0.70 *
F 6.02 * * * 6.07 * * * 62.59 * * * 51.15 * * *
R2 0.06 0.07 0.50 0.50
Adj. R 2 0.05 0.06 0.49 0.49 Table II.
DR 2 0.06 0.01 0.43 0.01 Results for hierarchical
regression testing
Notes: *p , 0.05; * *p , 0.01; * * *p , 0.001 ( represents standardized regression coefficients); n 518 moderating hypotheses
IJM relationship between work-family conflict and job satisfaction is stronger for
Taiwanese correctional officers who perceive low levels of supervisory support;
32,2 however, a diminished relationship can be observed for officers perceiving high levels
of supervisory support. Results therefore support H3.
Moreover, results show that internal locus of control (b 0:13, p , 0.001) has a
positive effect on job satisfaction, indicating that Taiwanese correctional officers who
242 possess higher levels of internal locus of control (Table II, step 3) tend to have higher
job satisfaction. H4 is therefore supported.
Results further demonstrate that the interaction term for internal locus of control and
work-family conflict is significant (b 0:70, p , 0.05) (step 4). Figure 3 illustrates that the
association between work-family conflict and job satisfaction is contingent on the level of
internal locus of control. Specifically, the relationship between work-family conflict and job
satisfaction is stronger for Taiwanese correctional officers who possess low levels of
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internal locus control; however, a reduced relationship can be observed for officers
possessing high levels of internal locus control. In view of these findings, H5 is supported.

Discussion
Using correctional officers as samples, Lambert et al. (2002) examined the relationship
between work-family conflict and job satisfaction and found a negative relationship
between time-based work-on-family conflict and job satisfaction. Similarly, the present
study has also found that work-family conflict has a negative effect on job satisfaction.

Figure 2.
The moderating effect of
perceived supervisor
support on the
relationship between
work-family conflict and
job satisfaction

Figure 3.
The moderating effect of
internal locus of control on
the relationship between
work-family conflict and
job satisfaction
This indicates that Taiwanese correctional officers who experience a higher level of Work-family
work-family conflict tend to have less satisfaction with their work.
As noted in the literature review, a correctional facility is an around-the-clock facility
conflict
with year-round operations. To maintain full and efficient operation, Taiwanese
correctional officers are required to work shifts, rotate on weekends/national holidays,
and deal with unexpected crisis events (e.g. escapes, assaults, homicides, suicides, and
so on). Some officers are even required to transfer to other facilities for temporary 243
assignments. Given the demanding work requirements, it is not surprising that those
who experience work-family conflict have lower levels of job satisfaction. This result is
consistent with results of previous research undertaken in other occupations
(Anderson et al., 2002; Frye and Breaugh, 2004; Kossek and Ozeki, 1998; Netemeyer
et al., 1996; Pasewark and Viator, 2006).
Moreover, consistent with prior studies (McCalister, 2003; Ng and Sorensen, 2008),
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the present study has found that perceived supervisor support has a significant effect
on job satisfaction. In addition to the direct effect of perceived supervisor support on
job satisfaction, the present study has found that perceived supervisor support also
serves as a significant moderator of the relationship between work-family conflict and
job satisfaction. Lambert et al. (2002) emphasized that work and family are
fundamental elements in most adult lives two concepts that have the potential to
become incompatible. Correctional institutions are characterized by stressful
environments that inevitably cause conflict between a persons work and family
responsibilities. Lambert et al. (2002) suggested that administrators must become more
aware of the demands on correctional officers because low levels of job satisfaction are
detrimental to any organizations wellbeing.
Likewise, in the Taiwanese correctional work environment where correctional
officers experience work-family conflict, immediate supervisors can help enhance the
job satisfaction of their subordinates by providing full assistance regarding
rescheduling work shifts due to family reasons, or by allowing them to reschedule
their work shifts with their colleagues. Boles and Babin (1996) stated that if
supervisors are willing to provide more flexible work schedules or allow their
subordinates to negotiate their work assignments, job satisfaction could be increased.
The present study has found that internal locus of control has a positive effect on job
satisfaction. This result confirms the evidence of past research (Chen and Silverthorne,
2008; Judge and Bono, 2001; Kircady et al., 2002). Internal locus of control not only serves
as an antecedent, but also acts as a significant moderator in the present study. Evidence
suggests that individuals with internal locus of control are more cognitively able,
predisposed to learning, motivated, and able to constructively deal with conflict, as
compared to individuals who tend to have external locus of control (Howard, 1996).
Spector (1982) offered a similar viewpoint and indicated that internals tend to exert extra
effort in order to hurdle challenges or resolve problems. In contrast, externals show less
initiative, believing that the outcome has already been determined. Thus, it can be
concluded that internal locus of control is an important personality trait that can help
Taiwanese correctional officers gain greater control over their task requirements and
moderate the negative effect of work-family conflict on job satisfaction.

Managerial implications and conclusion


As previously stated, results show that Taiwanese correctional officers experience some
degree of work-family conflict in their work setting. When officers are assigned to other
IJM correctional facilities for a certain period, correctional institutes should set up an
emergency line so that spouses/families could maintain contact with them any time.
32,2 Results also indicate that perceived supervisor support could moderate the
relationship between work-family conflict and job satisfaction. This research suggests
that top administrators and immediate supervisors practice a supportive leadership
style when their subordinates work under stressful conditions resulting from
244 work-family conflict. Mentoring relationships with supervisors may also help
correctional officers cope with work-family conflict. In this respect, the social learning
theory could be applied to the correctional context. Correctional officers could learn by
observing the behaviors of their supervisors and the consequences of their behaviors
(i.e. when they are placed in similar situations such as work overtime, job transfers, or
rotations on weekends and holidays but still succeed at managing work and family
demands). Such examples may boost the confidence of correctional officers, and in
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turn, improve their problem-solving skills in work-family conflict. Thus, under a high
supervisory support work climate, the less work-family conflict that Taiwanese
correctional officers experience, the more job satisfaction they achieve.
Results also indicate that internal locus of control serves as an important moderator.
One managerial implication may be that having better knowledge of individual
differences (in terms of internal locus of control) may help correctional administrators
design more effective organizational programs. Correctional institutes could offer
training programs to help existing employees enhance their internal locus of control,
potentially resulting in greater confidence in their capability to deal with both work
and family demands.
In addition, applicants who possess organizationally desirable characteristics (in
this case, internal locus of control) could be given primary consideration in the
recruitment and selection processes. Once they become members of the organization,
there is greater likelihood for them to acquire better coping skills to meet work and
family expectations, and thus, likely be more satisfied with their correctional work.
In conclusion, the present study supports past research stating that, among a great
number of antecedent factors, work-family conflict is a vital factor significantly
affecting job satisfaction. This study empirically confirms that perceived supervisor
support (work environment variable) and internal locus of control (personality variable)
play key moderating roles in reducing, at the minimum, the impact of work-family
conflict on job satisfaction. This study thereby contributes to the extant work-family
conflict and correctional literature.

Limitations and future research directions


The current study contains a few limitations that must be addressed. First, the research
was conducted in justice correctional institutes in Taiwan. Consequently, its findings are
not applicable to other industries. Nonetheless, a comparative correctional research with
different countries (e.g. Taiwan vs The UK, or Taiwan vs the US) that investigate similar
variables could be conducted in the future. Second, the study was carried out within a
short period. It is recommended that future researchers perform a longitudinal study to
examine work-family conflict process over time, thus capturing relevant data during
different occurrences of stressful conditions between work and family.
Third, this research primarily focuses on employees perception of supervisor support
as a moderator. In addition to supervisory support, the social support of peers and
spouses/families, as possible moderators, be incorporated in future research. For
example, peers may be willing to offer temporary shift switches or cover their colleagues Work-family
shifts when emergency family matters arise. When spouses/families are aware of the
requirements of correctional work (e.g. mandatory work overtime, shifts, and job
conflict
transfers), they could better understand and emotionally support their partners, and
thus, may help moderate the effect of work-family conflict on the job satisfaction.
Fourth, among the personality variables, internal locus of control is been used as a
moderator in the present study. Bruck and Allen (2003) examined the effects of 245
negative affectivity, Type A behavior, and big five personality traits on work-family
conflicts. Using zero-order correlations, they found that, of the five personality
variables, neuroticism and agreeableness are significantly correlated with the overall
work-family conflict, unlike extraversion, openness to experience, and
conscientiousness. Their results also showed that negative affectivity and Type A
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behavior are significantly correlated with the overall work-family conflict. Hence,
dispositional variables (i.e. the big five, negative affectivity, and Type A behavior)
could be considered for future correctional research.
Fifth, role variables such as role conflict and role ambiguity have been found to
strongly predict work-family conflict (Carlson, 1999), which could also link with job
satisfaction and thus could be added as possible moderators in future correctional
research. In addition, according to Martins et al. (2002), women, on the average, tend to
give their family roles greater priority, and thus, work-family conflict as confronted by
women may have more negative effects on their career satisfaction. Their research
results supported their claims that work-family conflict is more strongly related to
lower career satisfaction for women as opposed to the men. Although the results of the
present study demonstrate that gender is not a significant moderator (b 0:28,
p . 0.05), it still warrants further examination in other fields of study.
Finally, this study has failed to classify types of correctional institution into
different groups (e.g. 1 prison, 2 detention center, 3 drug abuse treatment
center, 4 training institute) at the beginning of data processing. Therefore, this study
is unable to examine the possible effect of types of correctional institution on
work-family conflict and job satisfaction of Taiwanese correctional officers. Future
correctional research could take this factor into account. Since correctional officers
might confront different degrees of work-family conflict under different types of
correctional institutions, subsequent experience on job satisfaction may also be
perceived differently.

Note
1. A psychological contract is basically an unwritten agreement that identifies the mutual
expectations between an employer and an employee. In the correctional context (i.e. Taiwan),
supervisors may be expected to show concern for the well-being of their correctional officers
(e.g. the effects of shift schedules, rotations on weekends/holidays, and job transfers on
family life).

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About the author


Yu Ru Hsu received her PhD from the University of Plymouth, UK and acquired her Masters
degree at the Cardiff Business School, University of Cardiff, UK. She is currently a faculty of the
Department of Business Administration, Chang Jung Christian University in Taiwan. Her areas
of research interest include organizational behavior, human resource management, and
managerial psychology. Yu Ru Hsu can be contacted at: yuru@mail.cjcu.edu.tw

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