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Human Resources Practices as Predictors of Work-Family Outcomes and Employee Turnover


  • Rosemary Batt,

  • P. Monique Valcour

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      Cornell Employment and Family Careers Institute and Department of Human Resource Studies, New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University. E-mail: and This article was prepared initially for the conference “Work and Family: Expanding the Horizons,” March 3–4, 2000, in San Francisco, sponsored by the Business and Professional Women's Foundation, the Center for Working Families at U.C. Berkeley, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. A later version was presented at the 2000 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management in Toronto. This study draws on data from the Cornell Careers Institute, with generous funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (Grant No. 96-6-9). We particularly thank Phyllis Moen for her ongoing support and George Milkovich for comments on prior drafts.


Drawing on a nonrandom sample of 557 dual-earner white-collar employees, this article explores the relationship between human resources practices and three outcomes of interest to firms and employees: work-family conflict, employees’ control over managing work and family demands, and employees’ turnover intentions. We analyze three types of human resources practices: work-family policies, human resources incentives designed to induce attachment to the firm, and the design of work. In a series of hierarchical regression equations, we find that work design characteristics explain the most variance in employees’ control over managing work and family demands, whereas human resources incentives explain the most variance in work-family conflict and turnover intentions. We also find significant gender differences in each of the three models. Our results suggest that the most effective organizational responses to work-family conflict and to turnover are those that combine work-family policies with other human resources practices, including work redesign and commitment-enhancing incentives.