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As numerous qualified women exit the workforce because of the challenges of balancing work and family, investigations of the work–family interface have become increasingly important. Research has indicated how multilevel factors (i.e., individual, organizational, and sociocultural) play a role in work–family conflict. Little research has examined these factors in relation to each other, however. In sport management, Dixon and Bruening (2005) argued that higher level factors (sociocultural and organizational) shape and constrain lower level behaviors (organizational and individual), which ultimately influence the perception and consequences of work–family conflict. The primary purpose of this investigation is to test and further develop Dixon and Bruening’s multilevel framework. The current study used online focus groups for data collection from 41 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I female head coaches with children to examine the factors that impacted work–family conflict from a top-down perspective. The results illuminated the experiences of the coaching mothers and the factors that affected their job and life satisfaction at each of the three levels. Particular attention was paid to how higher level factors such as work climate and culture shaped and constrained lower level attitudes and behaviors such as individual conflict and time management. These relationships highlighted how individual attitudes and behaviors reflect larger structural and social forces at work, and not simply individual choices.
Dixon is with the Dept. of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712. Bruening is with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269.