Family-Supportive Supervisor Behaviors (FSSB) and Work-Family Conflict: the Role of Stereotype Content, Supervisor Gender, and Gender Role Beliefs

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Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology

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Existing research consistently shows that informal workplace support, such as family-supportive supervisor behaviors (FSSB), are more effective at reducing work–family conflict than formal organizational supports. The purpose of this study is to integrate propositions from the stereotype content model and social role theory to understand how family-supportive supervision is related to social evaluations of supervisors (i.e., perceptions of supervisor warmth and competence) and identify boundary conditions (i.e., supervisor gender and employee gender role beliefs) to help researchers and practitioners understand how these relationships affect work–family conflict. We test our hypotheses using two studies, one an experimental vignette study and the other a two-wave survey study of working individuals with family or caregiving responsibilities. Our results suggest that FSSB are importantly related to how employees socially evaluate their supervisors along the dimensions of warmth and competence; supervisor gender moderates the relationship between FSSB and perceived competence (but not warmth); employee gender role beliefs moderates both these relationship (but in a counterintuitive way for supervisor competence); and we find evidence that warmth and competence mediate the effects that FSSB have on work–family conflict. Implications for theory, future research, and practice are discussed.


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