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A Japanese-U.S Comparison of Work-Family Conflict

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Essay title: A Japanese-U.S Comparison of Work-Family Conflict


A Japanese-U.S Comparison of Work-Family Conflict

and Its Effects in the Management of Organizations


In this study, work-family conflict in Japan and the United States is compared and contrasted based on culture, traditions, norms, values, and life styles. The paper will focus on the proposal that Japanese employees are frequently expected to use time after work to socialize with colleagues and clients at bars and restaurants into the late hours and it creates a major problem when trying to balance work and family, while American employees experience a different way of conflict, reflecting a system that offers poor choices for both working mothers and fathers. The effects and what actions American and Japanese managers need to take are discussed.

A Japanese-U.S Comparison of Work-Family Conflict and

Its Effects in the Management of Organizations

Work-family conflict has been widely looked at by many researchers and studies have shown that high levels of work-family conflict for many employees are produced when heavy pressures have arisen from the work environment and from the family environment (Greenhaus, Collins & Shaw, 2003; Frone, Russell & Cooper, 1992). Pressures in the work environment include heavily, inflexible work hours, work overload, interpersonal conflict at work, career transitions and unsupportive supervisors. Pressures in the family environment include existence of young children, responsibility for children, interpersonal conflict within the family unit and unsupportive family members.

Additionally, further studies have shown that work-family conflict has negative affects on employees and many individual experience distress, depression, nervousness, anxiety, and feelings of anger, hatred, and panic. On the other hand conflicts affect workers production, therefore many organizations are getting involved and dealing with issues arising from work-family conflict.

Work-family conflict is strongly related to value and culture. For the reason that culture has been defined as the shared assumptions, beliefs, and values, a company with a family-friendly culture is sensitive to the family needs of its employees and is supportive of employees who are balancing work and family (Hammonds, 1996; Greenhaus, Collins & Shaw, 2003). This paper compares work-family conflict in Japan and the United States, based on their culture, traditions, norms and values.

The paper is organized in a way that the first section will give the general idea of work-family conflict, followed by a comparison of work-family conflict in Japan and the United States. Effects on Japanese and American managers are discussed and lastly a conclusion section is positioned at the end.

Synopsis of Work-Family Conflict

Work-family conflict is a term that carries out many aspects of our lives. One of the most common ways to define this disagreement or tension is its occurrence when involvement in the work role and the family role is unable to coexist in some respect. The coexistence in the work and family roles have tremendously changed in the recent years due to changes in the workplace, and all across industries. By competing with the global world, new and changing technology and increased competition from global markets are making constant learning and upgrading a mandatory task. As a result, the workplace now demands more diverse skills from workers today than in the past. People need to continuously remain updated in order to effectively use ever-changing technology and software. The lifelong learning has becomes essential for workers but in the same time participation in one role is made more difficult, consequently conflicts emerge.

Work-family conflict can be characterized by gender, family type and perceived control. Gender is greatly acknowledged in all of the processes identified, as women and men confront or confirm their gender identities in piecing together the linkages between their work and family lives. Women have traditionally taken on the role of primary caregiver within the family infrastructure, however in the recent years the number of unemployed women available to provide care to an elderly friend, relative, or parent is on the decline. As women continue to have a dominant presence in the workforce and as the number of older Americans increases, the number of female caregivers balancing work and family responsibilities will unavoidably

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