Married working women and work-family interface in Urban Ghana : a holistic approach

Student thesis: PhD Thesis (Lingnan)


The intersection of work and family has gained traction across various disciplines in an attempt to study how work and family life affect individuals, families, organisations and societies. Nonetheless, most studies on work-family interface (WFI) remain dominated by theories, concepts and experiences rooted in white, middle class and homogenous individuals in Western societies. Owing to these concerns, there have been widespread calls for more cross-cultural studies that capture the plurality of work-family realities and conceptualisation, especially from the Global South. Emphasis has also been made on the need to expand workfamily research beyond the often-studied professional workers and their families to enhance the universal applicability of work-family concepts, promote diversity of work-family experiences and to adopt decolonial and inclusive methodologies relevant for contextual knowledge production. This thesis responds to these concerns using a holistic approach that incorporates the work-family experiences of both formal and informal married working mothers in urban Ghana. Specifically, the study seeks to examine the multiple sources of workfamily conflict (WFC) and work-family enrichment (WFE) among working mothers, the consequences of WFC/WFE on their satisfaction with job, family and marriage and the moderating effect of employment type as pertains to their perceived work demands and WFC/WFE. In doing so, I draw on role conflict theory, work-family enrichment theory, symbolic interactionism/source attribution, gender structure theory and a socio-materialist interaction framework. The study adopts a mixed method approach including a cross-sectional survey involving 1194 respondents out of which 42 were selected for in-depth interviews in Ghana’s 3 major cities (Accra, Kumasi and Tamale). From the quantitative results, age, monthly income, education and employment type had a negative association with WFC suggesting that women who are younger, less-educated, have low incomes and self-employed experienced higher levels of WFC. Again, perceived family and work demands, vehicular traffic issues and water access challenges were associated with greater levels of WFC among the sample. Concerning WFE, monthly income negatively predicted WFE while educational level, number of children, perceived work demands (PWD) and water access challenges positively predicted working women’s WFE. Concerning the bi-directional effects of WFC (W2FC/F2WC) and WFE (W2FE/F2WE) on work-family outcomes, both were found to have statistically significant effects on married working women’s satisfaction with their job, marriage and family, even after controlling for various factors. Moreover, type of employment moderated the relationship between PWD and WFC with self-employed mothers experiencing greater WFC in relation to employee working mothers. The former also demonstrated higher levels of WFE. The qualitative findings have provided contextual insights that complements, converges and diverges with the quantitative results of the study including how WFC/WFE affect working mothers’ family and work life. This study has significant contributions to workfamily scholarship: it incorporates the experiences of informal workers, develops a workfamily socio-materialist interaction framework, extends the within-and-cross domain effects of WFC/WFE on work-family satisfaction outcomes in an understudied African context and situates the discounted roles of intervening factors and mobilities in work-family research and policy. Lastly, mixed methods offered a valuable and integrative approach for studying workfamily intersections.
Date of Award21 Oct 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Lingnan University
SupervisorHau Nung Annie CHAN (Supervisor) & Roman DAVID (Co-supervisor)

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