How does work design influence work-life boundary enactment and work-life conflict? By: Martineau, Édith and Trottier, Mélanie. 2024. Community, Work & Family. Vol. 27 Issue 2, p252-268.

The COVID-19 pandemic led many workers to integrate their work lives within their homes because of mandatory telework. Given that this new arrangement may affect their work-life balance, the present study seeks to understand the mechanisms that underlie the way boundary enactment can mitigate work-life conflict (WLC). Specifically, it examines two features of work design (autonomy and job feedback) that may exert pressure on the work-life boundary which, in turn, affects WLC. Drawing on Ashforth et al.’s (2000) boundary theory, we posit that work design characteristics conducive to the creation of an inflexible and impermeable boundary between roles allow individuals to adopt boundary enactment based on segmentation, and subsequently decrease WLC. The results show that although boundary enactment that tends toward segmentation does not invariably play a mediating role, it consistently minimizes inter-role conflict.