Violating Work-Family Boundaries: Reactions to Interruptions at Work and Home



Hunter, Emily
Clark, Malissa
Carlson, Dawn

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SAGE Journals


Our study builds on recent trends to understand the work-family interface through daily experiences of boundary management. In particular, we investigated boundary violations, or events in which family life breaches the boundary of work and vice versa. Our purpose was to enlighten the process between violations and relevant outcomes, building on the foundations of affective events theory and boundary theory. Specifically, we aim to (1) tease apart boundary violations at work and at home from the established construct of work-family conflict, (2) explore the affective events theory process through which cognitive and affective reactions to boundary violation events contribute to work-family conflict and satisfaction, and (3) examine positive and negative reactions to boundary violations. Findings from a 2-week daily diary study of 121 employed participants partially supported our predictions. Boundary violations contributed to general perceptions of work-family conflict both directly and indirectly through cognitive appraisals of thwarted goals and, in the work domain, negative affective reactions. Violations were also related to satisfaction through goal appraisal. Finally, benefits in the form of positive affect were found from boundary violations due to facilitated goals in the interrupting domain.




Hunter, E. M., Clark, M. A., & Carlson D. S. (2017) Violating Work-Family Boundaries: Reactions to Interruptions at Work and Home. Journal of Management, 45(3), 1284-1308.