Matt Piszczek and Joe Yestrepsky Publish in Journal of Applied Psychology

Matt Piszczek, Associate Professor of management, and Joe Yestrepsky, doctoral student at the Mike Ilitch School of Business, have had their paper “Changing Placements: A Punctuated Equilibrium Model of Work-Family Role Boundary Reconstruction,” accepted for publication in the Journal of Applied Psychology.  

Set for the upcoming release, the paper explores dynamic aspects of managing work-family role boundaries, presenting a conceptual model that is both rare and impactful.  


In the face of changes to the work-family environment, the ability to manage role boundaries may be threatened. Drawing on punctuated equilibrium models of system change and cognitive dissonance theory, we extend boundary theory through a conceptual model that explains how and when individuals may tear down and rebuild work and family role boundaries in the mind in order to maintain well-being. We argue that divergent events compel individuals to enact role boundaries inconsistent with those held internally in the mind, resulting in cognitive dissonance. We further argue that high levels of cognitive dissonance past a threshold may trigger a revolutionary change in the deep structure of one’s internally drawn role boundaries, resulting in a significant change in the extent to which work, and family roles are cognitively segmented or integrated. We also argue that change events that generate lower levels of cognitive dissonance can be mitigated with boundary management tactics that create only incremental changes to work and family role boundaries. Our model advances a dynamic perspective of boundary theory that returns focus to the boundary placement process which is often overlooked in work-family research. 

- Fahmida Khanom

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