Work-life interaction of Setswana speaking police officers : a phenomenological study
Tlou, Nando Maude
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Work and family constitutes the dominant life roles for most adults in contemporary society. In that, work may be interrupted by family and family may be interrupted by work. Work often generates ambivalent feelings; it can create both positive feelings (e.g. gives energy, enables development) and negative feelings (e.g. lack of freedom). Therefore, most people accept the overall life experiences including the various dimensions or domains that play a role in work-personal life interaction, such as, time spent on one domain, pressures experienced, responsibilities carried, sense of loyalty with work and family, as common and conflicting aspects. Recent developments in boundary theory highlighted the fact that integrating, or rather interaction means bordering between the two domains of work and personal life is permeable. The main objective of this study was to investigate work-personal life interaction (WPLI) experiences of Setswana speaking police officials. This study also concentrated on the existence of work-personal life interaction, aspects involved, consequences thereof and coping mechanisms employed by the police officers. A non-probability purposive voluntary sample (n = 12) was taken of Setswana speaking police officials from the Mafikeng area in the North West Province. Data collection was done through a phenomenological method of semi-structured in-depth interviews. Content analysis was used to analyse, quantify and interpret the research data systematically and objectively. Results from the content analysis based on the experiences were recorded as reported. The results indicated that there was a definite interaction between work and personal life. However, some police officials experienced interaction more than others. Furthermore, they also experienced the interaction to be more negative than positive due to organisational stressors and the management style of the organisation. Consequently the participants experienced high levels of strain and difficulty when managing their time and dealing with the interaction between their work and personal lives. The time and strain difficulties induced a lot of conflict in their homes as well as their social lives. However, there were some police officials who experienced positive aspects in their lives regardless of the difficulties of being a police official. In addition, it was identified that they made use of coping mechanisms that acted as a buffer against negative experiences of WPLI. Recommendations were made for both the organisation and for future practice.