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The connection between work-life balance (WLB) and a sense of coherence (SOC) at a municipality in the South African public sector.

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The main objective of this study was to explore the connection between work-life balance (WLB) and sense of coherence (SOC) among professional level employees at a municipality in the South African public sector. These individual employees struggle with WLB challenges like relational tension, parenting, child and elder care, alcohol and substance abuse, debt and financial issues, absence of job autonomy, function vagueness / role conflict and job stress. This study examined SOC as a proposed coping mechanism which could be viewed as an individual trait to continuously resist stress successfully. This study’s population includes all heads of units, managers, supervisors and coordinators at the municipality. A sequential transformative mixed methods research design was adopted. Data was collected using a self-report questionnaire administered to 370 respondents, 307 questionnaires representing a response rate of 83% were returned. Additionally, eleven members of top management were interviewed. The SOC-13 version of Orientation to Life Questionnaire (OLQ) was used to measure SOC. WLB was assessed with a three-dimensional scale. Work-life balance strategies (WLBS) were measured with a 10-item scale and wellness programmes were assessed with a work-life wellness scale (WLBW). Stressors were assessed on a three-dimensional work stressor and three-dimensional family stressors scales respectively. These scales yielded acceptable levels of Cronbach alpha coefficient ranging from 0.781 to 0.983. The study utilised a combination of cluster, simple random and convenience sampling methods. The research objectives were achieved through descriptive and inferential statistics. Quantitative data was analysed using the IBM Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22 to test for bivariate associations among the variables and to determine the validity and reliability of the evaluating measures. NVIVO was used in organising qualitative data for ease of content analysis. The overall intention was to derive sufficient and rigorous statistical assessment of data towards proffering sufficient explanations on the connection between WLB and SOC. The findings indicated that WLBS had a statistically significant association with the wellness programmes. It was empirically confirmed that work and family stressors predicted SOC at the municipality. The study found no statistically significant connection between WLB and SOC at a municipality in the South African public sector. This study furthers the boundary of knowledge in the work-family literature and organisational behaviour by examining WLB from both cognitive and behavioural perspectives.


Doctor of Philosophy in Management. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2015.


Theses - Management Studies.