Work-family imbalance, Other Subject

Chris works as a delivery driver for the online food retailer 'ODACO'. He is 29 years of age and lives with his five year old son Rob in a rented flat in East Croydon. Rob stays with his mother Julia every other weekend. He recently started school, initially on a part-time basis. Before that, Rob was in nursery full-time. Additional childcare arrangements as well as help from his relatives allowed Chris to meet the demands from his job and family. At the moment, however, the situation is extremely difficult. Fortunately, Chris' relatives live in Feltham, and without their increased support, it would be impossible for Chris to cope with the exceptional current situation. He is grateful that his relatives support him with fulfilling his childcare responsibilities such as collecting Rob from school, preparing food, and looking after him in the afternoon.     

Chris' working hours are usually 09:00 am until 05:00 pm (day shift). Sometimes, however, Chris must work late shifts (i.e., from 02:00 pm until 10:00 pm). This is when many customers want their shopping to be delivered, and thus his employer needs to increase the delivery capacity at these peak times. Chris drives up to 150 miles per working day delivering groceries to up to 10 different customer addresses. He has been with his employer for more than two years now, and generally he gets along with the demands of his job and with his line manager Chuck. Chris is a careful driver, and he approaches customers with respect and politeness. His employer operates a performance management system that comprises elements of professional development (e.g., refresher driving lessons when required) and performance-related pay. When meeting critical performance criteria over a four-month period, this can top up his salary by approximately £1875 which is roughly equivalent to 10 % of his annual gross income. Chris' employer uses three main indicators to capture 'performance beyond expectation' ('ODACO' company website, 2008). These are frequency of VIRs (van incident reports documenting traffic accidents), number of ADAFs (after delivery adjustment forms documenting refunds for damaged products) and, importantly, punctuality.

Chris prefers working day shifts so that he can collect his son in the afternoon and spend the rest of the day with him. Until recently, Chris returned from work in a positive mood, especially when he managed to meet some of the targets specified in the 'performance beyond expectation framework'. For example, after a working day without major delays and an extraordinarily low number of ADAFs, he felt almost energised, which allowed him to deal more readily with his son's interests and needs. For Chris, personally, good job performance is a goal in itself because it makes him feel great. But even more importantly, good job performance is a means to an end as it can bring in extra income. Usually, he is saving his bonuses anticipating irregularly occurring childcare costs (e.g., after-school club on days when his relatives are unavailable) and special events (e.g., Rob's sixth birthday).  

Since Rob started school, a creeping decline in Chris' usually positive condition has occurred. He became increasingly grumpy when approached by others, be it at work or at home. Furthermore, he started worrying about his son when he was at work, and worrying about his job when he was with his son. He used to be a sound sleeper, but in recent weeks he has had problems to fall asleep. He felt that he did not have sufficient time to be a good delivery driver and a caring father at the same time. Feelings of guilt and deficiency kept him awake, and on the next day, he felt even worse. On top of it all, Chris' line manager Chuck sent him a text message noting that Chris' performance had dropped over the last few weeks. Consequently it was questionable whether Chris would be able to meet the bonus requirements for the current assessment period. Chris was aware of this decline. On days when he had to work late shifts, this allowed him to collect his son from school, but at work he lacked concentration and was somehow distracted.

Today Chris had a meeting with his line manager Chuck. Chris had initiated this meeting himself. In response to Chuck's recent text message, Chris wanted to discuss whether there was a way to compensate the recent drop in his performance. He hoped that, by the end of the current four-month period, he might still be eligible to some extra pay. The discussion went not as expected. Chuck was quite reluctant to raise any hopes regarding a potential bonus by the end of the current assessment period. And Chris, on the other hand, lost his usual retentiveness and told his line manager details about his current personal situation and condition. By the end of the meeting, Chris had even articulated his disappointment about his employer's lack of understanding, and he had indicated that he might, eventually, look for another job.

When Chris had left the meeting room, Chuck was seriously concerned. The door handle still in his hand, Chuck started wondering whether he could support Chris somehow. Chris was one of the best drivers in the team, and it would certainly be a loss if he decided to quit the job. Maybe, there was a way to help Chris regaining work-life balance? He walked over to the set of book shelves, took the 'ODACO' Staff Handbook, and appeared to be looking for something.       

Your report needs to cover two main sections: In the diagnostic section (~ 700 words), you must formulate the problem that is illustrated in the scenario above. You are expected to make use of theoretical models and concepts as well as empirical evidence from the work-family research literature, especially antecedents of work-family conflict.  

In the solution section (~1,300 words), you must describe a strategy for effectively implementing changes to reduce work-family conflict and to increase work-family facilitation (i.e., fostering work-family balance). You should be detailed, specific and realistic regarding your proposed strategy (i.e., desired results, levers to produce these results, change process including timing and preparation).

Posted Date: 3/2/2013 1:52:46 AM | Location : United States

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