AN ANALYSIS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WORKPLACE FACTORS AND WORK-LIFE BALANCE FOR RESEARCH ADMINISTRATORS
Costan, Lisa Elaine
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Workplace stress can be brought on by a number of factors and is typically found in occupations where individuals are exposed to intense circumstances. Professions commonly associated with high levels of stress include social work, law enforcement, and healthcare. This research study examines the profession of research administration, also labeled a high-stress occupation. This is believed to be the first study of its kind to make a direct assessment of change in work-life balance for research administrators. The aim of this study was to determine whether five independent variables could be used to predict the dependent variable change in work-life balance: 1) change in workload, 2) change in work intensity, 3) change in availability expectations, 4) change in customer service expectations, and 5) change in institutional culture. An anonymous online survey was distributed by email to almost 2,000 research administrators with a success rate of 18%. Changes in workload, work intensity, availability expectations, customer service expectations, institutional culture, and work-life balance were reported using a 5-point Likert scale. In addition, research administrators were also asked to rate their current work-life balance. An analysis of the results found that change in availability expectations to be available during non-regular work hours was the only variable to meet statistical significance with a P-value of 0.018 (α = 0.05). All other factors, initially believed to be drivers of work-life balance based on a review of the literature, were not found to predict change in work-life balance for research administrators. Other findings showed that 82% of research administrators are experiencing an increase in their workloads. Eighty percent reported that their work intensity is increasing and 66% reported that expectations to provide high-level customer service are increasing. Yet, these increases were not found to impact the work-life balance of research administrators as a whole. Seventy percent of research administrators reported that their change in work-life balance has either stayed the same or improved. Seventy-three percent of research administrators reported their current work-life balance as acceptable, good or very good.