Original Research

Juggling between work, studies and motherhood: The role of social support systems for the attainment of work–life balance

Augustine Osei Boakye, Rebecca Dei Mensah, Magdalene Bartrop-Sackey, Patricia Muah
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 19 | a1546 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v19i0.1546 | © 2021 Augustine Osei Boakye, Rebecca Dei Mensah, Magdalene Bartrop-Sackey, Patricia Muah | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 January 2021 | Published: 19 October 2021

About the author(s)

Augustine Osei Boakye, Department of Management and Human Resource, Faculty of IT Business, Ghana Communication Technology University, Takoradi, Ghana; and, Department of Human Resource Management, School of Business, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana
Rebecca Dei Mensah, Department of Human Resource Management, School of Business, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana
Magdalene Bartrop-Sackey, Department of Human Resource Management, School of Business, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana; and, School of Business and Management Studies, Cape Coast Technical University, Cape Coast, Ghana, Ghana
Patricia Muah, Department of Human Resource Management, School of Business, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana; and, Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Business, Heritage Christian College, Accra, Ghana


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Abstract

Orientation: In recent years, work–life balance has become one of the most important issues of interest to researchers and policymakers. Although women have been identified to be more at risk of work–life imbalance, little is known about the work–life balance pursuits of women who study in addition to their work in non-Western contexts.

Research purpose: Drawing from the ecological system theory and the conservation of resources theory, this study explored the lived experiences of women who study in addition to their work to understand how they achieve work–life balance.

Motivation for the study: The views of working mothers on how they strive to balance their work, studies and motherhood can influence the development and implementation of HR policies that empower women to climb the upper echelon of organisations.

Research approach/design and method: Six respondents knowledgeable on the subject were recruited with snowball sampling and further interviewed.

Main findings: Thematic analysis of the interview transcripts revealed work flexibility, co-worker support, supportive supervisor, supportive family and programmed work–life as the main themes, which explained how working mothers maintained a sense of well-being. Cardinal amongst the themes was the synergistic role of extended family members.

Practical/managerial implications: Organisations are encouraged to develop and implement family-friendly policies that can promote healthy well-being of its workforce whilst facilitating the training and development of women.

Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to work–family literature by providing empirical evidence from a non-Western context as previous research was predominantly conducted in Western contexts.


Keywords

work–life balance; social support system; studying; motherhood; healthy well-being; women empowerment; sustainable development goals

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