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A Study of the Role of Family- Friendly Employee Benefits Programs, Job Attitudes, and Self-Efficacy among Public Park and Recreation Employees

Michael Mulvaney

Abstract


The number of dual-career couples, workers with eldercare responsibility, single-parent families, and working parents with young children has become increasingly common in the American workplace (Breaugh & Frye, 2008) and has led to increased work-family conflicts for the park and recreation professional. In response to these workforce changes, family-friendly employee benefits programs (FFEBP) are becoming more readily available and offered by public park and recreation agencies. Guided by these challenges, this study sought to explore the link between FFEBP and job attitudes (organizational commitment) and employee motivation (self-efficacy) among public park and recreation employees. Specifically, the effects of two FFEBP (dependent care supports and flexible work arrangements) were assessed on organizational commitment and job self-efficacy outcomes. Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1991) was selected as the theoretical framework for this study due to its relevance to a variety of human resource management functions that occur within an organization and its application within employee motivation and commitment contexts (Gibson, 2004). Four hundred and fifty-six public park and recreation professionals completed an online survey that was used to measure the variables of interest. Analyses identified significant differences in employees’ job self-efficacy and organizational commitment levels between agencies with family-friendly employee benefits programs and agencies without these programs. Specifically, the findings from this study suggest agencies with dependent care supports or flexible work arrangements benefit programs have employees who are more committed to the agency and generally have higher levels of motivation (i.e., job self-efficacy) than employees working in agencies without these programs. For administrators, these results suggest the potential of FFEBP in creating a strategic advantage for agencies by recruiting and retaining higher performers within an agency and by establishing a more productive workforce. However, despite the potential value of these benefits, careful planning and internal assessment is needed prior to implementation of a FFEBP. Complete results of the study are analyzed and discussed.

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