1.1. Background to the Study
Women in many cultures are seen as basically responsible for taking care of their children and husband. They give birth to children, rear them and provide the necessary comfort for the man. It is believed in most cultural settings especially in Nigeria that the man as head and bread winner should go out to fend for his family while to woman is to treat him as a king when he comes back. Some cultures especially in developing countries still believe that it does not worth training the girl-child in western education. This is because of the archaic notion that a ‘woman’s education ends in the kitchen’. The girl-child of today becomes the mother tomorrow, so the training and preparation given to the girl-child today determines who the mother of tomorrow will be. The holy book, the Bible in Genesis 3: 16 says that the desire of a woman shall be of her husband and he shall rule over her. Therefore, many people see a woman as somebody that should not be ambitious and does not have a life of her own. Women were seen as second class citizens and as such were not given their rightful position in the society. In some organizations, they were not employed into some key positions because they were seen as being weak.
Women were predominately house wives until the World War II, when they were needed to fill the gap in the industries (Acemoglu, Autor and Davis 2004). Even after the war, when men came back to the industries, women continued to be engaged in organizations. Again the western education of the girl-child has brought women to the limelight. It became obvious that women could favourably compete with their male counterparts. However, the facelift in the representation of women in the different walks of life comes at a high price and sacrifice paid by mothers. The responsibility of taking care of the home, husband and children is seen as the sole responsibility of the woman in many cultural settings today. This gives the woman more responsibilities than necessary. The economic and social changes in the contemporary environment have brought additional responsibilities and a new dimension to the roles played by women.
This change in the predominant role of women in the society also has great impact on their husbands. In Africa, before the education and entrance of women into different careers, some house chores were the exclusive preserve of women. Unfortunately, times are changing, in most homes; some men now take up those responsibilities in order to keep the home moving. Although, this is not still accepted in some cultures but it cannot be compared with the situation before the twenty first century.
Employee – friendly organizations have done so much to encourage the working mothers in their organizations to succeed in their various jobs and at the same time enjoy a good family relationship. This is in recognition of the important roles the mothers play both in the society and their various families. The nature of the organization determines the kind of support and the satisfaction that will be enjoyed by the employees. According to research findings by Mauno, Kinnunen and Feldt (2012), in the paper mill, mothers benefited more from high work-family support than fathers, while in Information Communication Technology (ICT) Company, fathers benefited more than mothers. Thus high work-family support was associated with higher job satisfaction among mothers in the paper mill and among fathers in the ICT Company. Some of these organizations see these supports as ways of encouraging their employees while others see them as ways of ensuring a better life for the next generation. This is because, when a woman fails in her responsibility of raising good children, the society suffers it since the children will become nuisance to their environment.
This study intends to consider the conflict working mothers experience in Lagos State because of the uniqueness of the society. Lagos State is the former capital of Nigeria and also presently the commercial capital of Nigeria. It is known to be densely populated with heavy traffic. Lagos had a population of about 25 million as at 2015. Lagos has experienced tremendous growth from a population of about 1.4 million in 1970 to 25 million in 2015. The State generates about 25% of the Gross Domestic Topic (GDP) of Nigeria. It is the most economically viable state in Nigeria (World Population Review, 2015). The large and diverse population in Lagos State is as a result of heavy migration from other parts of Nigeria. Lagos is the home for women from different cultural backgrounds in Nigeria. Again there are working mothers in the private and public sectors in Lagos State. Some “Lagosians” leave their homes as early as 5 am and do not get back to the home even as late as 10 pm. It is interesting to state that some of these people are working mothers.
Organizational support is “Employees’ perceptions about their organization’s support to them. It influences worker’s commitment to the organization (Salim, Sadruddin and Zakus 2012). This suggests that it is what an organization gives to the employees that it receives. In a research by Salim et al (2012), it reveals that the performance of staff was significantly related with the organizational support and commitment. Some of these supports include organizational fairness, supervisor’s support, support from colleagues and extrinsically satisfying job conditions. In some cases, the organization might not be intentional about some of these supports, because it has become an organizational culture but it goes ahead to help the employees to be committed. Female supportiveness like time off to attend doctor’s appointments, job security for pregnant women, not missing out on promotion because of pregnancy/maternity leave, reassignment from jobs that will not harm the foetus, working not more than forty hours without pay reduction have been found important to working mothers (Metcalfe, Vekved and Tough, 2014).
The organisation and the employee both have responsibilities towards each other. This is based on Social Exchange Theory (Blau, 1964); (Emerson, 1976) and Norm of Reciprocity (Gouldner, 1960). Reciprocity is a social norm that says that “people should help those who have helped them” and that “people should not injure those who have helped them” (Gouldner, 1960, p. 171). Considering the theory above, it is important for both the employee and the employer to reciprocate each other’s commitment to ensure the realization of the organizational goals. Any workforce that is not satisfied cannot work effectively.
Gutrerrez, Candela and Carver (2012) see job commitment as the organizational relationship which is the exchange of resources between employee and the employer. Each of the parties is expected to get something symbolic and tangible from the relationship. Employees accept a job offer in an organization because they have a personal and tangible need they feel the organization will fulfil in them. In the other way round, employers of labour do not just hire people but they look for employees that will readily fit into whatever job they are being employed for. When this condition is not met in an employee’s life, she may think of a change of job in order to achieve her goals. The organization may also think of retrenching the employee or improving the performance of the employee through training.
Work-family conflict (WFC) is a form of inter- role conflict in which the demands of work and family roles are mutually incompatible (Greenhaus and Beutell 1985). It refers to the inter-role conflict between work and family (Vercruyssen andVan de Putte, 2013). The work-family interface can be both positive (enriching) and negative (Grzywacz and Mark, 2000; Voydanoff, 2002). This suggests that conflict does not necessarily mean negative as something good and meaningful can be made out of it. The inter-role conflict between work and family is bi-directional. This is seen in work-interfacing-with-family (WIF). WIF occurs when work role hinders the fulfilment of role(s) in the family domain. The other direction of it is family-interfering-with-work (FIW). FIW occurs when the family role(s) hinders the role fulfilment in the work domain (Judge, Ilies, and Scott, 2006).
Work Family Conflict (WFC) is derived from a scarcity hypothesis, which says that individuals have a fixed amount of time and energy. In line with this hypothesis, those who try to maintain the competing demands of work and family are most likely to experience conflict (Comgoz 2014). A working mother is a woman that is full-time employed and is still strongly identifying with her parenting role (Page, 2013). This refers to a woman that is gainfully employed either to identify with her career or financially support her family or even both and is still keeping up with her family responsibilities as a mother. According to the European Union “the female employment rate rose to 58% over the past decade. Bethge and Borngraber (2015), affirms that “this development contributes to emancipation, better family income, social acknowledgement, self-esteem and self-realization”.
According to Miller (2005), typical ideologies of motherhood differ across societies and contexts. Despite the fact that every woman that has a child is referred to as a mother, motherhood differs from culture to culture and from society to society. In line with this, it depends on who the woman takes herself to be. In some cultures as alluded by (Duncan 2005) motherhood defines a woman and so a woman is believed to be incomplete or seen as not haven achieved enough except she has a child or children as the case may be. This is responsible for the conflict women experience, trying to strike a balance between family life and work responsibilities.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
Times are changing and several women have emerged as chief executive officers of multinational corporations and Heads of government of countries. In Africa, the current president of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a woman. Women have gained high visibility in all walks of life.
Despite the importance of child upbringing to the society, the Nigerian government does not have adequate welfare packages to support mothers who have chosen to be off work and take care of their children. This is unlike Canada where a woman who voluntarily stays off work to rear her children gets up to $50 monthly (for non-diary diet) from the government as welfare support towards her family (Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services 2016). Some of these women in Nigeria are either bread winners or single parent. This leaves the heavy burden of taking care of their children solely on them. The socio cultural landscape has continuously been witnessing positive shift from the traditional role of women (Khan, 2014).
In Nigeria, the last few years have witnessed increase in the number of kidnapping and abuse of children. A great number of these crimes go on while the woman is busy at work. Most of the child abusers are people known to the children. Even children kept in the day care centre, most times, are left until very late in the night before the parents will come for them. Many children have stayed for days without seeing their mother not because they travelled but as a result of their coming home when the children have slept and also leaving the home early the next morning while the children are still sleeping. There was a recent case in Uganda were a home keeper by name Jolly Tumhiirwe abused a child kept under her care. She claimed she maltreated the toddler as revenge to the mother for beating her (BBC News December 15, 2014). It was uncovered with the help of the Circuit Camera Television (CCTV) father installed. Perhaps many innocent children may have died in this manner while the parents could not trace what happened to them. All these take place while the woman is at work looking for how to take care of the family or pursuing her career.
Employers expect their working mothers to be committed to their responsibilities as pledged at the entry point. It is difficult for an employee that is not committed to faithfully fulfil her obligations to the employer. This brings to focus the importance of job commitment to both the employer and the employee. The fact that one is a working mother does not in any way suggest that the employee should not be committed and effectively deliver her responsibilities. It is expected that the working mother should as much as possible ensure that her family life does not in any way affect her commitment and support to the achievement of her organizational goals.
The combination of the different roles most times leads to conflict between the two domains of life. It is important for the researcher to find how the working mother will be able manage her various responsibilities and at the same time optimally achieve her goals in her employment. There has been increase in the number of women in the workforce recently (Khan 2014). This can be traced to the harsh economic situation experienced in different countries, where the man alone will not be able to support the finances of the family. In most cultural settings, the house chores are still regarded predominantly as the role of the woman. Again, most of these women join the workforce before or during their child-bearing years (Hill, Nash and Citera 2011). This does not go without conflict between the family and work. Nature has given women the responsibility of pregnancy and rearing children. It does not matter the cultural background, ideally the responsibility of carrying pregnancy to term and nurturing life is that of a woman. The support of the employing organization towards encouraging the woman during these important and critical years of her life is necessary.
1.3. Objective of the Study
The main objective of the study is to investigate the relationship between organizational support, job commitment and work- family conflict among working mothers in Lagos State Nigeria. The specific of objectives are to:
- investigate the relationship between organizational support and job commitment among working mothers in Lagos State;
- examine the effects of work-family conflict on job commitment among working mothers in Lagos State;
- determine the organizational policies that are aimed at encouraging working mothers in Lagos State and
- examine comparatively the differences between work-family conflict on working mothers in private and public sectors in Lagos State.
1.4. Research Questions
This research answered the following:
- What is the relationship between organizational support and job commitment among working mothers in Lagos State?
- What are the effects of work-family conflict on job commitment among working mothers in Lagos State?
- What organizational policies are aimed at encouraging working mothers in Universities in Lagos State to overcome work-family conflict?
- What are the comparative differences between work-family conflict on working mothers in public and private Universities in Lagos State?
The hypotheses were tested at 0.05. This research considered the following research hypotheses:
H01: There is significant relationship between organizational support and work-family conflict among working mothers and
H02: There is significant relationship between job commitment and work-family conflict among working mothers.
1.6. Justification for the Study
The recent increase in the number of women in the workforce resulted in family and societal problems. Mothers leave their home in Lagos as early as 5 am to come back as late as 10 pm. Many infants in Lagos spent four to five days in a week without setting their eyes on their mothers. This is because they children will be sleeping in when morning when their mothers are leaving. At night, they would have gone back to bed when the mother will come back. These children are left in hands of caregivers. The mother comes back to ask the caregiver of how the day went and leaves instructions for the next day. Many of these women use the phone to monitor the activities of the care-giver in the day which will never be as effective as the woman taking care of her child or children.
Women who are not gainfully employed to contribute to the family needs are seen in the present society as liabilities to the husband. They are not respected by their friends and sometimes, their family members. Women now see themselves as assets that should prove their worthy and not mere housewives that will be ordered around. Women are competing with men in all spheres of life and most times neglecting their families.
Again, the moral decadency in the society is a total reflection of what is happening in our individual families. It is from the family that children join the larger society. Some of these children have not been tamed from their various homes and as a result constitute problem to the society. Most mothers today do not have a clear picture of the character of their children. It is unfortunate that most women are so busy that they become aware of the ills happening in their homes when it has become public knowledge. They would have been able to nip the problem on the board assuming they knew early enough.
The employers of labour expect much from the working mothers. The fact that one is a working mother can never be an excuse for mediocrity. Sometimes they even have more responsibilities than their male counterparts because of the positions they occupy. Every employee that receives salary from the organization is expected to add value to the employer. This is a better time to understand the conflict between work and family among working mothers in Lagos State. This will be studied in relation with the organizational support and their job commitments.
1.7. Significance of the Study
There have been many studies on the work-family conflict in women. Again many other researchers like (Jijena -Michel and Jijena -Michel 2015, Jung and Hepper 2015, Khan 2014, Sultana 2012) have tried to understand and find solutions to the challenges of working mothers, but there are very few studies on working mothers in Nigeria. This research would uniquely consider working mothers in Lagos State Nigeria in relation with their work-family conflict, organizational support and job commitments.
This study is intended to help women to balance their work and family life in a way that none would be negatively affected and at the same time live a happy life. A working mother that is not living a balanced life cannot give her best to her employer. This study would help women to consider their family life and family supportive organizations before accepting a job opportunities. It would help working mothers to understand their responsibilities to their employers and ensure compliance. It would also enable employers of labor t