|This study of work-family conflict among Chinese immigrants in New Zealand arose in response to the growing ethnic diversity in the labour force. The research investigated the work-family experiences among Chinese immigrants in New Zealand. Only sparse attention within the work-family literature has been given to immigrants’ work-family experiences. However, the Chinese ethnic group is fast growing and a critical part of the current and future labour market in New Zealand. Therefore, the antecedents, consequences, and coping strategies of work-family conflict among Chinese immigrants in New Zealand require attention. Furthermore, the majority of work-family studies assume that individuals function within a single culture, and overlook the impact of acculturation, which refers to the process of immigrants adapting to a new culture. The present research included acculturation as a major contributor to the work-family nexus.
This study makes an original contribution to the work-family literature by broadening our comprehension of work-family experiences among immigrant populations. First, the research investigated the antecedents and consequences of work-family conflict experienced by Chinese immigrants. Second, the potential role of acculturation in work-family experience among Chinese immigrants in New Zealand was also explored. Third, this research also investigated strategies used by individuals for coping with work-family conflict.
The thesis was designed and conducted through four separate studies, which are presented in four research articles designed to examine the above issues, and aimed to describe work-family experiences among Chinese immigrants. Each is a peer reviewed publication, and has been accepted, resubmitted, or under-review in peer reviewed journals or premium conferences.
Study 1 examined the antecedents of work-family conflict, and the mediation effects of work-family conflict on well-being among Chinese immigrants to New Zealand, along with the moderating role of acculturation (cross-sectional analysis, n=557), using structural equation modelling to test mediation and moderation effects. Overall, this study provided some evidence that both Chinese and New Zealand cultures could exert influences on the antecedents and consequences of work-family conflict among Chinese immigrants.
Study 2 investigated the mechanisms linking acculturation, work-family conflict and subjective well-being (two-wave longitudinal analysis, n=264), using structural equation modelling to test two rival mediation models. The results suggested that subjective well-being mediated the effect of acculturation on work-family conflict, while acculturation did not directly influence work-family conflict.
Study 3 examined the mediation effects of work interference with family (one direction of work-family conflict) between interpersonal conflict at work and well-being, as well as the moderation effects of acculturation (two-wave longitudinal analysis, n=264), using structural equation modelling to test both mediation and moderation effects. Overall, this study found that interpersonal conflict at work was a significant strain-based predictor of work interference with family, and strain-based work interference with family had more effects on well-being than did time-based work interference with family. In addition, visible artefact acculturation had little moderation effect on these relationships.
Study 4 was a qualitative study exploring the antecedents and coping strategies of work-family conflict in the context of acculturation. Participants (33) were selected from the Study 2 and those who got the lowest 10% and the highest 10% of scores on the work-family Conflict Scales were selected for inclusion. The selection was designed in order to compare responses from the two extreme groups (high and low work-family conflict). This study found that most Chinese immigrants had a low level of value acculturation, and strongly held their traditional Chinese cultural values, which largely affected their coping strategies and the antecedents of work-family conflict.
Overall, this thesis develops and extends previous research on work-family conflict by providing a broader understanding of complex work-family experiences among Chinese immigrants, such as the antecedents and coping strategies of work-family conflict in the context of acculturation. This broadened understanding paves the way for future work-family research among immigrant populations to continue to explore the role of value acculturation in their work-family experiences. The thesis also provides some practical recommendations for Chinese immigrants in aiming to balance their work and family demands, and for organizations to develop family-friendly policies to support immigrant workers, as well as for government to enact cultural awareness training to ensure their successful cultural adaptation.