Committee Chair

Cunningham, Christopher J. L.

Committee Member

Biderman, Michael D.; O'Leary, Brian J.


Dept. of Psychology


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


This study examines individual job choice decision making with the foreknowledge that such choices will impact the quality of a person’s future work-nonwork roles. It is likely that job applicants have at least some anticipation of the work-nonwork conflict (WNC) and work-nonwork balance (WNB) they will face if they accept a certain job offer. Although most research has provided reasons for organizations to promote WNB and reduce WNC in the workplace, little research has examined the influence of anticipated WNB and WNC on applicant job choice. The present study explores this question and considers whether a person’s work and nonwork identity salience might further influence the effects of anticipated WNB and WNC. Work and nonwork identity salience represents the underlying value a person places on his/her work and nonwork role domains. In the present study, anticipated WNB was expected to positively correlate with job choice likelihood ratings, and anticipated WNC was expected to negatively correlate with job choice likelihood ratings. These relationships were also hypothesized (H3) to differ depending on individuals’ underlying work and nonwork identity salience. To test these hypotheses, participants consisting of upper-level undergraduate and graduate university students (N = 219) indicated the likelihood of accepting an otherwise attractive job offer that was also likely to include: (a) high WNB and low WNC, (b) low WNB and high WNC, (c) low WNB and low WNC, and (d) high WNB and high WNC. Participants also reported their work and nonwork identity salience and other demographic details. A combination of means-comparison techniques supported H1 and H2. H3 was partially supported.


Acknowledgement is owed to the many people who directly or indirectly supported me throughout this research process. An immeasurable amount of gratitude goes to my thesis committee chair, Dr. Christopher Cunningham, for his guidance, patience, and encouragement. I would like to express gratitude to my additional committee members, Dr. Brian O’Leary and Dr. Michael Biderman, for their helpful feedback. Special thanks to Ryan Hall and the UTC Housing and Resident Life department for assistance in obtaining participants for my research. Lastly, thank you to my fellow psychology comrades for your support and inspiration.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Work-life balance; Identity (Psychology); Work -- Psychological aspects


job choice, identity salience, work nonwork balance, work nonwork conflict, applicant attraction, recruitment


Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Document Type

Masters theses




ix, 41 leaves