Is It My Job? Leaders' Family-Supportive Role Perceptions

Published In

Journal of Managerial Psychology

Document Type


Publication Date



Purpose Despite a burgeoning literature on family-supportive supervisor behaviors (FSSB), it is unclear whether supervisors view these behaviors as in-role or discretionary. We proposed a new cognitive motivational construct, FSSB role perceptions (FSSB-RP; that is the extent to which supervisors perceive FSSB as an expected part of their job) and evaluated it as a mediator of the relationship between supervisors' own work–family experiences and FSSB. Design/methodology/approach We used an online survey of 245 US based supervisors. Findings We find that FSSB role perceptions is a unique but related construct to FSSB, and that approximately half of our sample of 245 supervisors either do not believe that FSSB is a part of their job or are unsure as to whether it is. Path analyses revealed that supervisors' own experiences of work–family conflict and enrichment are related to engaging in FSSB through role perceptions, especially when a reward system is in place that values FSSB. Practical implications These results may influence the design, implementation and dissemination of leader family-supportive training programs. Originality/value The factors that drive supervisors to engage in FSSB are relatively unknown, yet this study suggests the novel construct of FSSB role perceptions and supervisors' own work–family experiences are important factors.


© Emerald Publishing Limited