Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the effect of self-employed work characteristics (consumer orientation, innovativeness, number of employees, motivation, and entrepreneurial phase) on work-life balance (WLB) satisfaction. Design/methodology/approach: The job demands and resources approach is applied to test whether self-employed work characteristics are evaluated as job demands or resources for WLB. The Global Entrepreneurship Data (2013) offer a unique opportunity to conduct multilevel analysis among a sample of self-employed workers in 51 countries (N=11,458). Besides work characteristics, this paper tests whether country context might explain variation in WLB among the self-employed. Findings: The results of this study reveal that there is a negative relation between being exposed to excessive stress and running a consumer-oriented business and WLB. Being motivated out of opportunity is positively related to WLB. In addition, the results indicate that country context matters. A higher human development index and more gender equality are negatively related to WLB, possibly because of higher social expectations and personal responsibility. The ease of doing business in a country was positively related to the WLB of self-employed workers. Social implications: For some workers self-employment might be a way to combine work and responsibilities in other life domains, but this does not seem to be valid in all cases. Originality/value: This paper contributes to current literature on the WLB of self-employed workers by showing how work characteristics can be evaluated as job demands or resources. Including work characteristics in future research might be a solution for acknowledging the heterogeneity among self-employed workers.

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doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-04-2016-0127, hdl.handle.net/1765/96120
International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research
Department of Public Administration

Annink, A., den Dulk, L., & Amorós, J. E. (2016). Different strokes for different folks? The impact of heterogeneity in work characteristics and country contexts on work-life balance among the self-employed. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, 22(6), 880–902. doi:10.1108/IJEBR-04-2016-0127