In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Work and Family: An Organizational Science Overview

  • Introduction
  • Journals
  • Edited Volumes
  • Work and Family Researchers Network
  • Kanter Award
  • History and Trends
  • Work-Family Enrichment
  • Work-Family Balance
  • Partner Crossover

Management Work and Family: An Organizational Science Overview
Debra Major, Russell Matthews
  • LAST REVIEWED: 07 January 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 March 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0121


Work and family constitute the primary broad domains in a person’s life. The interface between the work and family domains attracts multidisciplinary research attention, including scholarship from management and industrial/organizational psychology as well as family and women’s studies, sociology, and social work, among others. Generally, scholars in the organizational sciences are interested in how interactions between work life and family life, or more broadly nonwork roles, influence organizational and individual outcomes. Scholarship is published among a wide, and often siloed, set of journals which has resulted in a fragmentation of knowledge. Yet, within the organizational sciences, scholarship is often concentrated in a core set of related journals (see Journals). In part because of the fragmentation of the literature, the field is replete with jargon and terms. Here, definitions for the primary work-family constructs are provided. For simplicity we focus on four constructs/concepts commonly examined within the literature. Work-family conflict (or interference) is defined as a bidirectional process wherein the demands and responsibilities of one domain (e.g., work) interfere with another domain (e.g., family). Alternatively, work-family enrichment (or enhancement), which is also conceptualized as a bi-directional process, is defined as participation in one domain (e.g., family) facilitating performance in another domain (e.g., work). Work-family balance likely has the most contested definition, but is often defined in terms of one’s satisfaction with managing work and family demands simultaneously. Finally, partner crossover is conceptualized in terms of stressors/strains of one partner crossing over and influencing stressor/strain experiences of his/her partner. Additional definitions are provided within sections.


Although there is no management journal devoted exclusively to research regarding the work-family interface, there are a number of journals that include work-family topics in their scope. For example top management journals such as Academy of Management Journal and Academy of Management Review both publish work on work-family related topics. Collectively, over seventy peer-reviewed journals, across a host of interrelated fields, frequently publish on work-family related topics. The list below concentrates on high-quality journals in which work-family research from management and related fields (e.g., industrial/organizational psychology) most frequently appears. Other relevant journals publishing work-family research, outside of management and industrial/organizational psychology, include: American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Journal of Marriage and Family, Gender & Society, and Social Forces.

  • Human Relations. 1947–.

    Published monthly by Sage; broad-based journal publishing research and review pieces related to work-related social relationships; increasing presence in terms of publishing quality work-family research.

  • Journal of Applied Psychology. 1917–.

    Monthly publication of the American Psychological Association. Publishes primarily empirical articles that make novel contributions and advance theory in applied psychology; conceptual pieces are also permitted. Breadth of topics covered has expanded in recent years; work-family issues explicitly identified as an area of interest. Considered a top journal for work-related psychology.

  • Journal of Business and Psychology. 1986–.

    Published quarterly by Springer; broad-based journal publishing research related to organizational science; increasing presence in terms of publishing quality work-family research.

  • Journal of Management. 1975–.

    Top management journal published bimonthly by Sage. Includes empirical research and theoretical work, including an annual review issue. Website identifies a collection of work-family articles under JOM Articles of Interest.

  • Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. 1996–.

    Top occupational health psychology journal published quarterly by the American Psychological Association; focuses on publishing interdisciplinary research on improving employee well-being, safety, and performance; emphasizing theory and methodological rigor. The journal is highly respected as an outlet for work-family research.

  • Journal of Organizational Behavior. 1980–.

    A quarterly publication of Wiley that includes theoretical and empirical articles on a variety of organizational behavior topics. Especially focused on cross-level and multi-level research addressing individual, group, and/or organizational levels.

  • Personnel Psychology. 1948–.

    Published quarterly by Wiley. Accepts empirical research, review articles, and theory pieces. A top-ten journal for human resource management and organizational behavior research. Top paper of 2015 was a work-family article.

  • Journal of Vocational Behavior. 1971–.

    Published quarterly by Elsevier; publishes research related to both work behavior (broadly defined) and career development; historically was a primary outlet for work-family research but has become less focal as other journals have started to more regularly publish work-family research.

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