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- Work/Family Issues in Canadian Workplace
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Professor Emeritus, Information Systems
Chris A. Higgins is a Professor at the Ivey Business School. Prior to joining the Ivey Business School, Higgins taught at the University of Waterloo and McMaster University. He earned a B. Math in Statistics, an M. Math in Statistics and a Ph.D. in Management Sciences, all from the University of Waterloo.
Higgins' research focuses on the impact of technology on individuals, including such areas as champions of technological innovation, alternative work arrangements, and, most recently, work and family issues and their impact on individuals and organizations. Together with Linda Duxbury of Carleton University, they have conducted three national studies (1990, 2000, 2011) concerned with work and family and eldercare issues. They have also conducted in-house surveys of 40+ companies. In total they have collected data from over 150,000 Canadians.
- Developed high-level course for Ph.D. statistics
- Developed entry-level course for MsC program.
- BMath, University of Waterloo
- MMath, University of Waterloo
- PhD, University of Waterloo
Recent Refereed Articles
Duxbury, L.E., Higgins, C.A., Smart, R., Stevenson, M.,
2014, "Mobile Technology and Boundary Permeability", British Journal of Management, July 25(3): 570 - 588.
Abstract: An extensive review of the literature reveals a lack of insight into why some employees and their families benefit from the adoption of mobile technology while others do not. The paper summarizes the authors’ efforts to answer this question. The authors undertook a longitudinal case study of the adoption and use of a BlackBerry Smartphone by 25 professional knowledge workers. Four theoretical lenses were used to help with the data analysis process: boundary theory, the social constructivist view of technology, sensemaking and attribution theory. Analysis of the Time 2 data identified three groups. Segmentors (n = 4) did not use their smartphones outside work hours. Integrators (n = 8), used their smartphones to connect to both work and family anywhere, but not any time (temporally separated work and family roles). Struggling segmentors (n = 13) felt pressured by their organization to use their device 24/7 and did so. The analysis indicates that the relationship between the use of mobile technology and successful boundary management depends on the development of a strategy to manage the device prior to adoption, the ability to change one’s strategy to respond to concerns at home, and self-control.
Link(s) to publication:
Higgins, C.A., Duxbury, L.E., Julien, M.,
2014, "The relationship between work arrangements and work-family conflict", WORK-A Journal of Prevention Assessment & Rehabilitation 48(1): 69 - 81.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: A review of the literature determined that our understanding of the efficacy of flexible work arrangements (FWA) in reducing work-family conflict remains inconclusive. OBJECTIVE: To shed light on this issue by examining the relationship between work-to-family conflict, in which work interferes with family (WFC), family-to-work conflict, in which family interferes with work (FWC), and four work arrangements: the traditional 9-5 schedule, compressed work weeks (CWWs) flextime, and telework. METHODS: Hypotheses were tested on a sample of 16,145 employees with dependent care responsibilities. MANCOVA analysis was used with work arrangement as the independent variable and work interferes with family (WFC) and family interferes with work (FWC) as dependent variables. Work demands, non-work demands, income, job type and gender were entered into the analysis as covariates. RESULTS: The more flexible work arrangements such as flextime and telework were associated with higher levels of WFC than were fixed 9-to 5 and CWW schedules. Employees who teleworked reported higher FWC than their counterparts working a traditional 9-to-5 schedule particularly when work demands were high. CONCLUSIONS: The removal of both temporal and physical boundaries separating work and family domains results in higher levels of work-family interference in both directions. The results from this study suggest that policy makers and practitioners who are interested in improving employee well-being can reduce work-family conflict, and by extension improve employee mental health, by focusing on the effective use of traditional and CWW schedules rather than by implementing flextime and telework arrangements.
Link(s) to publication:
Kelley, H., Compeau, D.R., Higgins, C.A., Parent, M.,
2013, "Advancing Theory through the Conceptualization and Development of Causal Attributions for Computer Performance Histories", Data base for Advances in Information Systems, August 44(3): 8 - 33.
Abstract: Attribution theory, advanced by Bernard Weiner and his colleagues is an important, though sometimes controversial, theory that has demonstrated vitality and longevity. The cross-disciplinary application of attribution theory to, for example, organizational behavior, marketing, and education, has stimulated the interests of researchers and contributed to its theoretical validity and reliability. Compared to other disciplines, the application and theoretical testing of attribution theory are in the "spring" of their existence in the field of Information Systems (IS). This paper proposes that conceptualization and measurement of the causal attributions individuals make for their computer performance and performance histories, positive and negative, are critical to understanding computer adoption and post-adoption behaviors. We first identify the causal attributions that enterprise resource planning (ERP) users make for their computer performance histories. We then describe the conceptualization and development of multi-item scales to capture these causal attributions. This work contributes to theory and practice through (1) the development and psychometric testing of several attributional scales for advancing our understanding of the multi-theoretical stream of research investigating technology adoption at the individual level, and (2) by providing a description of a theoretical multi-method approach for the rigorous scale development of causal attributions. Our work suggests that researchers must consider several fundamental principles of attribution theory when investigating IS artifacts during various adoption phases.
Compeau, D.R., Marcolin, B., Kelley, H., Higgins, C.A.,
2012, "Generalizability of Information Systems Research Using Student Subjects - A Reflection on Our Practices and Recommendations for Future Research", Information Systems Research, December 23(4): 1093 - 1109.
Abstract: Information systems researchers, like those in many other disciplines in the social sciences, have debated the value and appropriateness of using students as research subjects. This debate appears in several articles that have been published on the subject as well as in the review process. In this latter arena, however, the debate has become increasingly like a script—the actors (authors and reviewers) simply read their parts of the script; some avoid the underlying issues whereas others cursorily address generalizability without real consideration of those issues. As a result, despite the extent of debate, we seem no closer to a resolution. Authors who use student subjects rely on their scripted arguments to justify the use of student subjects and do not always consider whether those arguments are valid. But reviewers who oppose the use of student subjects are equally culpable. They, too, rely on scripted arguments to criticize work using student subjects, and do not always consider whether those arguments are salient to the particular study. By presenting and reviewing one version of this script in the context of theoretical discussions of generalizability, we hope to demonstrate its limitations so that we can move beyond these scripted arguments into a more meaningful discussion. To do this, we review empirical studies from the period 1990–2010 to examine the extent to which student subjects are being used in the field and to critically assess the discussions within the field about the use of student samples. We conclude by presenting recommendations for authors and reviewers, for determining whether the use of students is appropriate in a particular context, and for presenting and discussing work that uses student subjects.
Duxbury, L.E., Higgins, C.A., Smart, R.,
2011, "Elder Care and the Impact of Caregiver Strain on the Health of Employed Caregivers", WORK-A Journal of Prevention Assessment & Rehabilitation 40(1): 29 - 40.
Abstract: Objective: As the baby-boom generation moves towards middle age, and their parents toward old age, the number of employees who combine care for an elderly dependant and work will increase in number. These employees are 'at risk' of experiencing caregiver strain. This paper advances our understanding of these trends by examining the relationship between caregiver strain and the health of employed caregivers. Participants: Our study involved the analysis of data from the 2001 Canadian National Work, Family and Lifestyle Study (N = 31,517). Methods: MANOVA was used to determine the relationship between caregiver strain and three situational factors: (1) gender; (2) where the care recipient lives compared to the caregiver; and, (3) family type. Regression was used to determine the relationship between caregiver strain and mental health. Results: We found that caregiver strain depends on gender, family type and location of care. Emotional strain was a significant predictor of mental health. Conclusions: These findings support the need for organizations to expand their thinking around work-life balance to include employees who have eldercare responsibilities.
Breward, K., Breward, M.C., Higgins, C.A.,
2011, " Diversity issues in information technology education: The role of cultural values in predicting training preferences and subsequent training effectiveness ", Review of Business Research, March 11(2): 9 - 38.
Abstract: Due to increased rates of immigration many educators are now responsible for training employees from a broad range of countries. As such it is important to understand both the role of cultural values in predicting training format preferences and how these culturally-based preferences may influence training effectiveness. Previous efforts to study this issue have proven inconclusive, possibly due to serious sampling limitations. This study uses Canadian government data collected from thousands of immigrants who received software application training while working in Canada. The data, based on a specialized government survey, includes a representative sample of organizations and industries. The dependent variables of self-reported training format preferences and time spent using the software application after having received training were both analyzed using numerous techniques. It was concluded that cultural values played a statistically significant but not substantive role in predicting training format preferences and subsequent training effectiveness. Interestingly other variables introduced as controls explained a much greater amount of variance in training format preferences. This has important implications for which aspects of diversity educators should focus on when trying to align training with learner preferences.
Lyons, S., Duxbury, L.E., Higgins, C.A.,
2010, "Work Values: Development of a New Three-Dimensional Structure Based on Confirmatory Smallest Space Analysis Work Values", Journal of Organizational Behavior, October 31(7): 969 - 1002.
Abstract: We tested the psychological structure of the work values ratings of 119,167 Canadian workers using confirmatory smallest space analysis (SSA). Contrary to our hypotheses, the SSA did not support a two-dimensional radex structure, but suggested a three-dimensional cylindrex structure composed of three facets: (a) A modality facet comprised of four types of work values (cognitive, instrumental, social, and prestige) forming angular sectors of a circle; (b) a growth-orientation facet with growth-related work aspects located closest to the center of the circle and context-related work aspects located in the peripheral ring; and (c) a level of focus facet that divided the overall cylindrical structure into three separate vertical levels (individual, job/ organizational, and societal). The findings extend the theory of work values by providing a richer typology of work values and a more complete picture of the complex structure of their inter-relations
Higgins, C.A., Duxbury, L.E., Lyons, S.,
2010, "Coping with Overload and Stress: Men and Women in Dual-Earner Families", Journal of Marriage and Family, August 72(4): 847 - 859.
Abstract: This study tested gender differences in a model positing relationships between work and family demands, overload, 4 coping mechanisms, and stress. The coping mechanisms were hypothesized to moderate the relationship between overload and stress. The sample consisted of 1,404 men and 1,623 women in dual-earner families. Respondents relied on 2 coping strategies: scaling back and restructuring family roles. Men were more likely than women to respond to overload by scaling back and less likely to respond by work-role restructuring. Coping by family-role restructuring moderated the relationship between role overload and stress for both groups; however, the gender difference was not significant. Coping by work-role restructuring moderated the relationship between overload and stress only for men.
Cinite, I., Duxbury, L.E., Higgins, C.A.,
2009, "Measurement of Perceived Organizational Readiness for Change in the Public Sector", British Journal of Management, June 20(2): 265 - 277.
Abstract: Using the act frequency approach we developed and operationalized two constructs: perceived organizational readiness for change and perceived organizational unreadiness for change. Using a sample drawn from five Canadian public sector organizations, it was found that perceived readiness for change can be conceptualized with three sub-constructs: commitment of senior managers to the change, competence of change agents, and support of the immediate manager. Perceived unreadiness for change had two sub-constructs: poor communication of change and adverse impact of change on work. Using structural equation modelling techniques, the measurement scales of all these constructs were tested for reliability and validity using job stress and perceived organizational support as outcome variables.
Dong, L., Neufeld, D.J., Higgins, C.A.,
2009, "Top Management Support of Enterprise Systems Implementations", Journal of Information Technology, March 24(1): 55 - 80.
Abstract: Despite the general consensus regarding the critical role of top management in the information systems (IS) implementation process, the literature has not yet provided a clear and compelling understanding of the top management support concept. Applying metastructuring (Orlikowski, et al., 1995) as a guiding framework for understanding top management support behaviors, this paper attempts to address the gap by focusing on two key questions: (1) What supportive actions do top managers engage in during IS implementations? (2) How do these actions affect IS implementation outcomes? Analyses of in-depth case studies at two Canadian universities that had implemented a large-scale enterprise system revealed three distinct types of top management support actions: top management support-resource provision (TMSR - actions related to supplying key resources such as funds, technologies, staff, and user training programs); top management support-change management (TMSC - actions related to fostering organizational receptivity of a new information system); and top management support-vision sharing (TMSV - actions related to ensuring that lower-level managers develop a common understanding of the core objectives and ideals for the new system). Results suggest that different support behaviors exercise different influences on implementation outcomes, and that top managers need to adjust their support actions to achieve desired outcomes. In particular, TMSR affected project completion, TMSC impacted formation of user skills and attitudes, and TMSV influenced middle manager buy-in. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.
Dong, L., Neufeld, D.J., Higgins, C.A.,
2008, "Testing Klein and Sorra's Innovation Implementation Model", Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, December 25(4): 237 - 255.
Abstract: Despite a substantial volume of research activities on innovation implementation (Holahan, et al., 2004; Klein and Sorra, 1996; Kwon and Zmud, 1987), implementation outcomes continue to disappoint - particularly those related to large-scale information systems (IS) implementation projects (Aiman-Smith and Green, 2002; The Standish Group International Inc., 1995; Whittaker, 1999). In 1996, Klein and Sorra introduced a promising model that posited key determinants of implementation effectiveness. In this paper we present validated construct measures, and then test their model using a survey of 209 employees in seven organizations. Our results demonstrate that IS implementation effectiveness is influenced directly and indirectly by innovation-values fit, and indirectly by implementation climate.
Neufeld, D.J., Dong, L., Higgins, C.A.,
2007, "Charismatic Leadership and User Acceptance of Information Technology", European Journal of Information Systems 16(4): 494 - 510.
Abstract: Although there is widespread agreement that leadership has important effects on information technology (IT) acceptance and use, relatively little empirical research to date has explored this phenomenon in detail. This paper integrates the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) (Venkatesh et al., 2003) with charismatic leadership theory (Conger & Kanungo, 1988; Conger & Kanungo, 1998), and examines the role of project champions influencing user adoption. PLS analysis of survey data collected from 209 employees in seven organizations that had engaged in a large-scale IT implementation revealed that project champion charisma was positively associated with increased performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence and facilitating condition perceptions of users. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed, and suggestions for future research in this area are provided.
Duxbury, L.E., Lyons, S., Higgins, C.A.,
2007, "Dual-Income Families in the New Millennium: Reconceptualizing Family Type", Advances in Developing Human Resources, November 9(4): 472 - 486.
Abstract: The problem and the solution. To assist employees in their pursuit of balance, human resource development practitioners must recognize that different family types face different challenges and require different approaches to promoting work-family balance. Early research in this area defined family type very simply: Both partners worked for pay outside the home or both partners had careers. Changes in the demographic profile of families and in the nature of work have rendered this typology obsolete. This article proposes a new, expanded conceptualization of family type that recognizes four family types: dualcareer, dual-earner, new-traditional, and status-reversal.
Compeau, D.R., Meister, D.B., Higgins, C.A.,
2007, "From Prediction to Explanation: Reconceptualizing and Extending the Perceived Characteristics of Innovating", Journal of the Association for Information Systems, August 8(8): 409 - 439.
Abstract: Individual adoption and use of technology remains a critical concern for both managers and professionals. Despite the widespread integration of technology into work and organizations, there remain many opportunities for individuals to either extend or limit their use of IT at work. This paper extends work on the Perceived Characteristics of Innovating (PCI), as defined by Moore and Benbasat in 1991. Building on studies over the past ten years as well as on additional empirical research, we provide two contributions - a reconceptualization and refinement of the PCI constructs, and an extended theoretical model of their influence on users' behavior. The construct refinements aim to provide greater theoretical clarity and to address challenges in the measurement of the constructs. The extended theoretical model provides a more complete picture of the influence of the PCIs, by considering the complex web of relationships among them in addition to their potential direct effects on usage.
Lyons, S., Duxbury, L.E., Higgins, C.A.,
2007, "An Empirical Assessment of Generational Differences in Basic Human Values", Psychological Reports 101: 339 - 352.
Abstract: This study assessed generational differences in human values as measured by the Schwartz Value Survey. It was proposed that the two most recent generations, Millennials and Generation Xers, would value Self-enhancement and Openness to Change more than the two older generations, Baby Boomers and Matures, while the two older generations would value Self-transcendence and Conservation more. The hypotheses were tested with a combined sample of Canadian knowledge workers and undergraduate business students (N=1,194). Two hypotheses were largely supported, although an unexpectedly large difference was observed between Millennials and Generation Xers with respect to Openness to Change and Self-enhancement. The findings suggest that generation is a useful variable in examining differences in social values.
- Professor, Ivey Business School, Western University
- Associate Professor, Ivey Business School, Western University
- Assistant Professor, Ivey Business School, Western University
- Assistant Professor, Department of Management Sciences, University of Waterloo
- Developed practical statistics course for MBA and EMBA students
- Developed high level statistics course for Ph.D. students