Workaholism is a controversial topic that can be defined as a positive or negative trait, but for this research it is defined negatively: an addiction to work to where other aspects of life are being ignored in favor of working. It’s counterpart of hard-working but in a positive manner, where work can be beneficial to all aspects of one’s life, is known as work engagement. In this study, Clark et al. set out to research whether those who are considered workaholics experience greater work-home conflicts and those who simply engage in their work experience greater work-home enrichment. They also go more in-depth to find out if negative emotions can mediate, or explain, the relationship between workaholism and work-home conflicts, and if positive emotions can mediate the relationship between work engagement and work-home enrichment.
The participants in this study were recruited through snowball sampling, a method where future participants were recruited by current participants involved in the study. There were a total of 340 participants who had an average age of 40 years and were working an average of 40 hours per week. The majority of them were not students and were married or had children. They were required to complete 2 questionnaires, one dealing with measures of workaholism and work engagement and the other included measures of emotion and work-home conflicts and enrichment.
The results from the analyses of the questionnaire data revealed that workaholism is positively correlated with work-to-home and home-to-work conflict, which means the more of a workaholic a person is, it’s more likely for them to have higher amounts of work-home conflict. Similar to workaholism, the results show that work engagement is positively correlated with work-to-home and home-to-work enrichment, where the more engaged a person is in their work, the more likely they are to have an improved work-home life. The results also display how specific negative and positive emotions can explain the relationships between workaholism and work-home conflict and work engagement and work-home enrichment, respectively. The four negative emotions that were tested were: anxiety, anger, guilt, and disappointment, and while all four of these emotions were related to workaholism, only work anxiety and work disappointment were related to work-home conflict. In addition to these negative emotions, the three positive emotions that were included were: joviality, self-assurance, and attentiveness. Similar to workaholism, all three positive emotions were related to work engagement, but only work self-assurance was related to work-home enrichment.
Although there has been research done in the past including workaholism and work engagement, this study is particularly important in terms of using emotions to mediate the relationship between these topics. Limitations of this study include not delving into specific dimensions of workaholism and work engagement or their relation to different emotions. Also, 63% of this study’s participants were female, which could have affected the results differently. Overall, the focus on emotions mediating the relationship between workaholism, work engagement, and work-home conflicts and enrichment allows this study to make a significant impact on this subject.