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Fly-in / fly-out working arrangements: Employee perceptions of work and personal impacts

Brook, Elizabeth Ruth (2020) Fly-in / fly-out working arrangements: Employee perceptions of work and personal impacts. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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During the resources boom in Western Australia, the remoteness and nature of work contracts led to an increase in the use of fly-in fly-out (FIFO) working arrangements. The associated compressed work periods, alternating patterns of residence, and the harsh worksite living conditions were compensated for by high wages. The combination of these factors led to controversy around whether employees were committed to their employers (Walford, 2012), if their working arrangements conflicted with family arrangements, and the impact on their mental health (Education and Health Standing Committee, 2015). This thesis explored the impact of FIFO working arrangements on workers in each of these areas using correlations and path analyses. The resources boom (circa 2012) provided the opportunity to survey FIFO workers (n = 980; 75.6% male) across Australia by a cross-sectional online or paper survey. A convenience sample was recruited through multiple methods including social media, radio, and snowballing. Affective commitment and normative commitment were strongly predicted by perceptions of organisational support. Preference for a different roster had a small but significant impact on employees’ intent to leave their jobs. Employees’ preference for a different roster was positively associated with their perceptions of work-family conflict (WFC), which was also positively associated with poorer mental health outcomes. When work and personal factors were combined, preference for another roster was related to higher WFC and subsequently many organisational and individual outcomes, while high continuance commitment was related to poorer mental health outcomes. The implications of the findings of this thesis are that organisations should focus on enabling choice of roster as well as improving perceived support in order to increase affective commitment and reduce turnover intent and perceptions of WFC, which is likely to lead to better mental health outcomes for their employees.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
United Nations SDGs: Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
Supervisor(s): Ditchburn, Graeme and Sully, Max
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