Utah State University Study Finds Work-Linked Couples Are Happier and More Productive

LOGAN, Utah--()--Dual career couples with the same occupations or work places may have a happier family life and less job and family tension as a result of the work-related support they can offer one another. The beneficial impact is twice that for work-linked couples compared to non work-linked couples, according to a published study in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.

“Not only does this benefit employees’ personal lives, but they become more productive at work,” said Merideth Ferguson, Ph.D., study author and associate professor in the Management Department of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. “This research suggests that both families and employers stand to gain a significant benefit from work-related spousal support, especially in work-linked couples.”

The couples in the study are linked in their work in three potential ways: they share an occupation (e.g., they are both professors but for different universities), they share a workplace (e.g., they both work for the same university but one is a professor and the other works in the financial aid office), or they share both an occupation and a workplace.

Because of the shared aspects these couples have of one another’s workplaces or occupations, their work/home boundaries are blurred, which allows work-related information to be more freely shared but which also may make balancing work and family more challenging, Ferguson said.

The study has important implications for organizations and their managers who need to capitalize on the benefits of work-linked employees while limiting the risks, and help those employees and their families do the same. The evidence that work-related spousal support’s effects extend not only to the employee but also to his or her spouse highlights the advantage for organizations that employ individuals who are part of a work-linked couple.

Work Linked Study Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKS7mZF3zrw

About Dr. Merideth Ferguson

Dr. Ferguson focuses her research on two main areas: bad employee behavior and the work-family interface. Her research been published in numerous journals, including the Journal of Applied Psychology and the Journal of Organizational Behavior. Study co-authors include Dawn Carlson, Ph.D., Baylor University, Hankamer School of Business; K. Michele Kacmar, Ph.D., Texas State University, McCoy College of Business; and Jonathan Halbesleben, Ph.D., The University of Alabama, Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration.

About Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University seeks to inspire and equip students to become innovative, ethical leaders with refined analytical skills that will help them understand and succeed in the global marketplace. The Huntsman School of Business is one of eight colleges at Utah State University, located in northern Utah. More information on the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business may be found on the web at www.huntsman.usu.edu.

Contacts

Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
Klydi Heywood, 435-797-7901
klydi.heywood@usu.edu

Release Summary

Dual career couples with the same occupations or work places may have a happier family life and less job and family tension as a result of the work-related support they can offer one another.

Contacts

Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
Klydi Heywood, 435-797-7901
klydi.heywood@usu.edu