Multi-National Work-Family Research Project
(Project 3535)

Pilot Study

A pilot study was carried out in all nine countries for the purpose of pre-testing the survey. 

The pilot survey contained the following scales (among other measures):  Work Overload was assessed using the role overload subscale from Peterson et al.'s (1995) measure of cross-cultural role conflict, ambiguity, and overload.  A Family Overload scale was made up by adapting items from the from work overload measure. Two aspects of work-family conflict and guilt were assessed.  The first related to Work Interference with Family (WIF) and the second to Family Interference with Work (FIW).  WIF and FIW Conflict were assessed with the scale developed by Carlson, Kacmar and Williams (2000).  Guilt (WIFG and FIWG) was measured with a new scale that had been created by McElwain (2003). 


Survey data was collected in all ten countries. Cross sectional data were collected in most countries. However, in Australia, Canada, and the U.S., a prospective two-wave design was used. The first wave of the survey contained all of the measures. The seond wave assessed work-family conflict and the outcome variables. The original survey items were in English. For non English speaking cultures the items were translated.  A translation and back-translation procedure was followed (Brislin, 1980) in which a bilingual individual translated the survey into another language.  This survey was then translated by another bilingual individual back into the original English version and the two versions were then compared for accuracy.

Please see the archived documents for an annotation of the survey, including the measures used, their sources, and the scoring procedures. 

The methodology described below refers only to that used for the Canadian sample.

Pilot Study

In Canada 17 individuals (11 women and 6 men) participated in the pilot study. The data were collected via a survey that was administered either on-line or in a paper and pencil format. 

Two-Wave Survey

Organizations were contacted by the research team.  The individual participants were then contacted through their organization and were given a choice to complete the surveys online or in paper and pencil format.  Participants were then contacted between two to four months later to complete the second wave of the study.

Data were collected from three organizations in the manufacturing, education and health care sectors, respectively.  First, a manufacturing company participated.  For the manufacturing sample only, the survey was available in French. In the manufacturing company, of the total of 1,819 participants who potentially could have completed the first wave of the survey, 538 did so, resulting in a 30% response rate Two months later, the questionnaire was e-mailed to 396 people, and 259 responses were received (a 65% return rate).  A paper and pencil version was sent to 142 employees for whom the researchers did not have e-mail addresses. Thirty-eight responded (a 27% return rate).  Overall, fourteen percent of responses were in French. Most respondents came from Ontario (56%), Quebec (17%) or Alberta (12%).

In the educational organization a total of 1837 employees were contacted to participate in the first wave of the survey and 107 responded (a 6% response rate).  These employees were contacted between two and four months later to complete the second wave, and 59 returned the survey (a 55% return rate).      

Of the 38 employees from the health care organization who could have completed the survey, 30 responded (a 79% response rate).  Of the 30 respondents, 13 completed the second wave two months later (a 54% return rate).

Therefore, in total, across the three sectors, 3694 employees were contacted.  There was a total of 675 responses to the first wave (an 18% response rate) and 331 responses to the second wave (a 49% response rate).  Although some of the response rates are considered low for this type of research, it is important to note that due to Tri-council Ethics regulations, we were not able to contact the participants directly and therefore depended on organizational representatives to inform their employees about the survey and to distribute the surveys.  The response rates reported are conservative as we are unable to ascertain the actual number of people contacted (i.e., it is possible that some of the employees were not provided with access to the survey). 

For Wave One data, the age of participants ranged from 21 to 62 (M = 40.91; SD = 8.39).  On average, these participants had been working in their position for 6.40 years (SD = 6.72) and for their organization for 10.87 years (SD = 8.85).  Further, 15.6% were employed in education, 80.1% worked in manufacturing, and 4.2% were employed in the health sector.  For the Wave Two data, the age of participants ranged from 24 to 63 (M = 38.87; SD = 8.95).  On average, these participants had been working in their position for 5.62 years (SD = 6.81) and for their organization for 10.18 years (SD = 8.51).  Further, 16.2% were employed in education, 80.8% worked in manufacturing, and 3.1% were employed in the health sector.