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Journal Articles Organization Science Year : 2024

Devoted but Disconnected : Managing Role Conflict Through Interactional Control

Vanessa Conzon
  • Function : Author


The ideal worker is represented as constantly available for work. However, an increasing number and variety of workers experience conflict between work and family demands. Research has identified numerous practices to manage this conflict with positive implications for non-work relationships, but the implications of these practices for work relationships remain unclear. How do efforts to manage role conflict affect workplace relationships? To examine this question, we draw on ethnographic data from 72 STEM workers across three organizations. We find that workers who experienced role conflict interpreted interactions in the workplace—often unpredictable in timing, frequency, and length—as a threat to fulfilling both their work and family roles on a daily basis. Thus, they controlled work interactions to make time for both work and non-work roles. However, interactional control limited their sense of workplace belonging and opportunities for resource exchange. In contrast, workers who did not experience daily role conflict encouraged interactions, allowing these encounters to expand across time. As a result, their work extended into evenings and weekends, and they experienced a sense of belonging and more regular resource exchange. We identify how interactional control practices manage role conflict but limit the development of workplace relationships. We also expand the repertoire of how devotion to work can be performed, identifying the occupied worker who expresses devotion through focused and efficient work and interactions rather than availability for work and interactions.
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Dates and versions

hal-04553331 , version 1 (20-04-2024)


  • HAL Id : hal-04553331 , version 1


Vanessa Conzon, Ruthanne Huising. Devoted but Disconnected : Managing Role Conflict Through Interactional Control. Organization Science, 2024, 24 p. ⟨hal-04553331⟩


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