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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, May 27, 2018 1:00 am

Study: Family conflict affects moonlighters

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Life might be more of a juggling act, but employees with more than one job still see themselves as capable of giving 100 percent to their primary gig, a Ball State University study suggests.

“People who moonlight a second job are just as productive and engaged as their one-position counterparts. However, moonlighting may lead to family conflict – possibly due to the number of hours spent outside the home,” the university said in a news release this month about the study.

Ball State's Bryan Webster, a management professor, led a multiuniversity research group to examine the notion that moonlighters are more likely to be tired and devoid of energy. The study, “Is Holding Two Jobs Too Much? An Examination of Dual Job Holders,” was recently published in Springer's Journal of Business and Psychology.

Little research has been done concerning job performance by moonlighters, according to Webster, even though 7.2 million Americans were classified as dual jobholders in 2016 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A dual jobholder works for and receives income from two different organizations or works for and receives income from one organization and is self-employed in another job.

Webster and his research team conducted two studies. First, they compared the level of work engagement dual jobholders exhibit at their primary job to the level of work engagement at their second job. In a second study, they interviewed a sample of teachers and bartenders, comparing those who hold only one job to those who hold two jobs about work behaviors and attitudes.

Researchers found that dual jobholders do not report lower levels of work engagement at the second job compared with the primary job while the difference between primary-job work engagement and second-job work engagement was not statistically significant, Ball State's news release said.

“In general, it appears that dual jobholders are able to perform as adequately as their single jobholding counterparts,” Webster said in the release. “However, dual jobholders reported higher levels of work-family conflict as compared to single job employees.”

Dual jobholders work an average of 46.8 hours per week as compared to the average American employee who works 38.6 hours per week.

More than 50 percent of men engage in dual jobholding at some point in their lives, and men and women currently participate in dual jobholding at equal rates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Reasons employees held second jobs included meeting regular household expenses, paying off debts, gaining experience or earning extra money to buy something special, according to a 35-page summary of the research.

The research involved two studies to different groups one week apart, to “mitigate concerns of same source bias,” including the use of internet survey links sent to several hundred workers. 

Webster believes the study is one of the first to provide a scientific examination of the popular notion that holding two jobs is detrimental to individuals and organizations. He also said the research provides evidence organizations may not need to enact policies to prevent individuals from undertaking a second job.

“However, given the negative personal effects of holding two jobs – such as higher work-family conflict – organizations may be inclined to enact policies that help dual jobholders strike a healthy balance between work life and home life,” Webster said in the news release.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at lisagreen@jg.net. Lead On also appears online as a blog at www.journalgazette.net/blog/lead-on/.