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|Freedom and Flexibility: The Work-Family Balance of Single Female Entrepreneurs in Nigeria
|Adisa, T. A.
|Employee Relations: The International Journal
|Purpose – Work-family research has mainly focused on nuclear families, neglecting other types of families, such as single self-employed parents. To what extent does the freedom and flexibility attached to being single and self-employed hinder or enhance single parents’ workfamily balance? Using role theory as a theoretical lens, this study examines single selfemployed parents’ work-family balance. Methodology – Drawing on the accounts of 25 single self-employed parents in Nigeria, the article uses semi-structured interviews to examine how this group achieves work-family balance. Findings – We found that the freedom and flexibility associated with being single and selfemployed form a double-edged sword that increases the spate of singlehood and intensifies commitments to work, altogether preventing the participants in the study from achieving workfamily balance. The findings also indicate that singlehood and a lack of spousal support cause and exacerbate work-family imbalance for this group. The findings further indicate that the reconstruction of functions, and the recreation of the traditional masculine gender role overwhelm single self-employed women in their entrepreneurial activities, thereby causing a lack of time and the energy required to function well in a family role, thus creating imbalance between the different spheres of life. Research limitations – The extent to which the findings of this research can be generalised is constrained by the limited sample and scope of the research. Practical implications – While literature espouses freedom and flexibility as important ingredients needed to achieve work-family balance, this study shows that they enhance interrole role conflict. The study suggests creation of private or family time, devoid of work or entrepreneurial engagements, for single female entrepreneurs. This will ensure quality time and energy for the family and for fresh relationship – all of which will impact business positively. Originality/value – Rather than enhancing work-family balance, the freedom and flexibility attached to being single and self-employed remain the main source of work-family imbalance for Nigerian single self-employed parents.
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