Hong, Y. H., Mills, M. J., Suh, Y., & Ford, M. T. (2022). Unpacking Work-Family Conflict in the Marital Dyad: Interaction of Employee Fit and Partner Fit. Human Relations, 00187267221117800.

Can workers optimize their work and family lives when their involvement across both domains fits with their values, regardless of what their partners value? The current study suggests that it is not so simple; rather, we must take both employees’ and their partners’ perspectives into account in order to optimally understand the work–family interface. Herein we examine the relationships between employee fit (degree to which an employee’s role value aligns with his/her role involvement) and partner fit (degree to which a partner’s role value aligns with the employee’s role involvement) with work-to-family conflict, family-to-work conflict, life satisfaction, and turnover intentions. Using data from 179 dyads of South Korean employees and their matched spouses/partners, we put forth a fit assessment to determine degree of discrepancy within dyads, and test a model regarding how such fit is associated with outcomes. Results suggest that partner fit moderates the effects of employee fit on work-to-family conflict and family-to-work conflict, such that when partner fit rose, the negative effect of employee fit on conflict was strengthened. Thus, employees’ experiences of work-to-family conflict and family-to-work conflict were lowest when their role involvement was aligned with both their role value and their partner’s role value. Further, partner fit moderated the indirect (via work-to-family conflict, family-to-work conflict) effects of employee fit on life satisfaction (partially mediated), such that the effects were stronger when partner fit was high. Interestingly, partner fit also moderated the indirect effects of employee fit on turnover intentions (fully mediated) via work-to-family conflict, but not via family-to-work conflict. Implications and future research directions are discussed, including how this work advances relational considerations in work–family research both conceptually and empirically.