In Search of Perfect Boundaries? Entrepreneurs’ Work-Life Balance

Article


Adisa, T., Gbadamosi, A., Mordi, T. and Mordi, C. 2019. In Search of Perfect Boundaries? Entrepreneurs’ Work-Life Balance. Personnel Review. 48 (6), pp. 1634-1651. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-06-2018-0197
AuthorsAdisa, T., Gbadamosi, A., Mordi, T. and Mordi, C.
Abstract

Purpose – Does the self-employed nature of entrepreneurs’ business ventures mean that they have perfect boundaries between their work and nonwork lives? Drawing on border theory, this study examines entrepreneurs’ work-life balance (WLB) in terms of how they construct and manage the borders between their work and nonwork lives.

Design/Methodology/Approach – A qualitative research approach is adopted to enhance understanding of entrepreneurs’ WLB using border theory. The study benefits from its empirical focus on Nigerian migrants in London who represent a distinct minority group living in urban areas in the developed world. Data for the study was collected over a three-month period, utilising semi-structured interviews as the primary method of data collection.

Findings – Our findings indicate that entrepreneurs prioritise ‘work’ over ‘life’ and reveal that entrepreneurs have little desire for boundaries as they work everywhere, which makes long working hours prevalent among them. Furthermore, the findings bring to the fore a prevalent social variance of these entrepreneurs preferring to be unmarried, single, and even divorced as a result of or associated with the entrepreneurs’ boundaries creation and management.

Research Limitations/Implications – The extent to which the findings of this research can be generalised is constrained by the limited and selected sample of the research.

Theoretical Implications – The article highlights the fluidity and permeability of the boundaries between entrepreneurs’ work/nonwork domains and the frequency of border crossing, which is almost uncontrollable, especially from the work domain to the nonwork domain. We describe this as work/nonwork border blurring.

Practical Implications – Research on human resource management (HRM) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or businesses in which entrepreneurs operate is evolving. The issue of the size and the nature of an organisation (i.e. labour or product market influences, ownership structures, etc.) have profound implications for human resources (HR) structures, policies, and practices and the quality of the WLB of entrepreneurs. As research on HRM and entrepreneurship is still developing, HRM practice in entrepreneurial business ventures is often organisationally fluid and adhoc.
The main implication is that there may be little structure in HRM policies and processes in place to support self-employed entrepreneurs in comprehensively managing border crossing and achieving WLB.

Originality/Value – This article provides valuable insights into entrepreneurs’ work/nonwork boundaries, which are hugely influenced by the commodification of time and money. It also enriches work-life border theory and its social constructionist perspective.

JournalPersonnel Review
Journal citation48 (6), pp. 1634-1651
ISSN0048-3486
Year2019
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
Accepted author manuscript
License
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-06-2018-0197
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-06-2018-0197
Publication dates
Online02 Sep 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited05 Apr 2019
Accepted04 Apr 2019
Accepted04 Apr 2019
Copyright holder© 2019 Emerald Publishing Limited.
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