IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 12575: Family-Friendly Policies: Extrapolating A Pathway towards Better Work Attitudes and Work Behaviors in Hong Kong (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
The need for family-friendly policies to balance work and life demands is growing. Many studies have addressed how family-friendly policies relate to a variety of employees’ work attitudes and behavioral outcomes, but not how they (positively or negatively) affect them, especially the affective components of family-friendly policies that provide “felt” support to an employee. To fill this gap, this study adopts a moderated mediating mechanism to analyze how affective components of family-friendly policies impact employees’ attitudes and behaviors through signaling and social exchange theory. We examined how this impact is mediated by factors such as work–life conflict, perceived organizational support, and control over working hours, as well as whether having a supportive supervisor moderates the mediated effect through further limiting the degree of work–life conflict or strengthening control over working hours. Data were collected through a survey with 401 employee–supervisor dyads from organizations in Hong Kong. We found that family-friendly policies do not necessarily affect work attitude and behavior, but they work through the sequential mediators of having more control over working hours and perceived organizational support. The role of supportive supervisors is also significant, in that they are likely to be key in molding the organizational environment for the gradual provision and uptake of family-friendly policies. The results of this study contribute to the development of signaling and social exchange theory and have theoretical implications for supervisors regarding them utilizing their position to improve employee work attitudes and behavioral outcomes.