Sociology Mind
2013. Vol.3, No.3, 210-216
Published Online July 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Workplace Control: Women and Minority Workers in America
Dina Banerjee, Ying Yang
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Received May 2nd, 2013; revised June 3rd, 2013; accepted June 14th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Dina Banerjee, Ying Yang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative
Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium,
provided the original work is properly cited.
In this paper, we examine the effects of gender and race on American workers’ workplace control. Schol-
arship on gender, work, and occupation states that gender and race are important predictors of the extent
of control workers exercise in workplaces. Literature also posits that job satisfaction and work-family
conflict also contribute substantially to workers’ workplace control. However, there exists hardly any em-
pirical study that explores the impacts of gender, race, job satisfaction and work-family conflict altogether
on their workplace control. That is what we accomplished in this study. Obtaining data from the 2008 Na-
tional Study of Changing Workforce (NSCW), we ask: 1) Do women and men workers in America differ
in their perceptions of workplace control? 2) Do non-white and white workers in America differ in their
perceptions of workplace control? And 3) Do gender and race of the workers influence their workplace
control when job satisfaction and work-family conflict are considered? Analyses are based on quantitative
methods. Results show that women perceive to have less control over their workplace as compared to men.
Moreover, job satisfaction is a more significant predictor of their workplace control than work-family
Keywords: Sociological Inquiry and Research Promote Analytical Research and Inquiry in Socio-Cultural
Aspects Foster Interdisciplinary
Gender scholars have paid much attention to workplace con-
trol of the workers since the beginning of women’s movement
in the early 1970s (Binder et al., 2010). The general conception
is that with their increasing participation in the labor market,
women and minority workers gain more control over their
workplace (Binder et al., 2010; Cohn, 2000). However, current
empirical studies show that even at the onset of 21st century,
women and minority members do not have as much control on
their workplaces as compared to men and workers from the do-
minant group respectively (Cohn, 2000; Grönlund, 2007; Hark-
ness et al., 2005). Thus, gender and race of the workers con-
tinue to be the important predictors of workers’ workplace con-
Moreover, scholarship on gender, work and occupation also
identifies two other key factors that influence workplace control
of the workers: job satisfaction and work-family conflict (Be-
thge et al., 2009; Noor, 2002). Interestingly, these two factors
are often considered as the human capital characteristics of the
workers (Binder et al., 2010; Cohn, 2000). Nevertheless, schol-
ars have found that workers with greater job satisfaction often
perceive to have more workplace control than those with less
job satisfaction (Blau & Devaro, 2007; Näswallet al., 2005).
Research on workers’ workplace control also suggests that
workers with greater work-family conflict are more likely to
experience less control in their workplaces (Grönlund, 2007;
Harkness et al., 2005).
However, to the best of our knowledge, there hardly exists
any study that examines the impacts of gender, race, job satis-
faction, and work-family conflict together on workplace control
of the workers. In this study, we address that concern and ask: 1)
Do women and men workers in America differ in their percep-
tions of workplace control? 2) Do non-white and white workers
in America differ in their perceptions of workplace control?
And 3) Do gender and race of the workers influence their work-
place control when job satisfaction and work-family conflict are
This study intends to extend the literature on gender that fo-
cuses on the work-related well-being of the workers by explor-
ing workplace control of American workers. In this study, we
use the 2008 National Study of Changing Workforce (NSCW)
survey to conduct rigorous quantitative analyses. Therefore, it
is also an attempt to contribute to the empirical literature on
gender, work, and occupation that focuses on worker’s work-
place control. This paper is organized into 4 specific sections.
In the first section we outline a brief review of the literature on
workplace control in terms of the scholarship of gender, work,
and occupation. In the second section, data and methods of the
study are presented. The third section includes the findings of
the study. Finally, in the conclusion section, we interpret the
findings with regards to the literature on gender, work, and oc-
Review of Literature
Workplace Control
Workplace control is primarily defined as the decision mak-
ing abilities of workers within workplaces (Feldt et al., 2004).
Additionally it also means a worker’s power to express her
opinion in different aspects of her work (Drago et al., 2009), as
well as her ability to make choices regarding important work-
related elements such as subordinates, starting time, break time,
and office hours (Fischbacher et al., 2005). Scholarship on gen-
der, work and occupation considers workplace control as key to
the understanding of women and minority workers’ well-being
in workplaces (Feldt et al., 2004). This is because with an in-
creased participation of women and minority workers in the
labor market, there is a substantial consciousness-raising among
the workers about their decision making abilities, and access to
resources about different aspects of workplaces (Grönlund,
2007). Grönlund (2007) posits that women workers with greater
decision making power within workplaces are happier than
women with less decision making power.
Workplace control of workers has been studied extensively
by the scholars of gender, work, and occupation. Empirical lite-
rature presents 4 key predictors of workers’ workplace control:
gender, race, job-satisfaction, and work-family conflict (Binder
et al., 2010; Blau & Devaro, 2007; Drago et al., 2009; Grön-
lund, 2007). Whereas gender and race are considered as demo-
graphic factors, job satisfaction and work-family conflict are
often viewed as human capital variables (Bethge et al., 2009;
Binder et al., 2010; Fischbacher et al., 2005; Noor, 2002). In
the following subsections we will present brief description of
the literature based on each of these key predictors of work-
place control.
Gender and Workplace Control
There exist a number of studies that establish significant
connection between gender and workplace control. For example,
Binder et al. (2010) examine data for faculty at a public re-
search university in the United States between 1995 and 2004.
They explore whether or not gender wage gap can be explained
by the faculty’s decision making power. Their findings suggest
that wage differentials result more from faculty’s decision mak-
ing abilities regarding courses taught, enrollment, grant dollars,
and number and impact of publications and less from them
being a woman or a man. Using a large sample of datum from
the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality Employer Survey,
Blau and Devaro (2007) examines gender differences in work-
ers’ decision making abilities and promotional opportunities.
Their results indicate that women have lower decision making
power and less promotional opportunities than men even with
comparable education, training, and job experience.
Gender has also been identified as an important component
of workplace control within economics professions (McDowell
et al., 2001). Evidence suggests that over the period from the
1960s through the early 1980s, female economists had lower
levels of workplace control and career advancement than their
male counterparts with similar educational and experience-
based qualifications. These gender differences persist irrespec-
tive of workers’ racial/ethnic backgrounds and self-selection
between profit and not-for-profit jobs (McDowell et al., 2001).
Again, studies have presented interesting relations among gen-
der, work-family conflict and workplace control (Noor, 2002).
In a study of 310 employed women with families in Malaysia,
gender as well work-family spillover are found to be the 2 vital
factors for women’s decision making abilities within their work
settings (Noor, 2002).
Literature on gender, work, and occupation pays much atten-
tion to transition of women workers from unpaid to paid work
and suggests that women enter the paid labor market primarily
for 2 reasons: 1) out of sheer economic necessity, and 2) to
increase their decision making abilities both within and outside
workplaces (Zipp & Plutzer, 2000).
Understanding the decision making power of married women
in workplaces and dual-career families, provides a perspective
for addressing important issues like workers’ well-being and
happiness in the current economy (Zipp & Plutzer, 2000). Fur-
thermore, gender has an explanatory power, and it is primarily
due to the employment experiences like, autonomy, control,
responsibility, self-direction, that shape women’s work-life ex-
periences within the labor market (Zipp & Plutzer, 2000).
Race and Workplace Control
Although race is defined as the sociological differences
among people based on skin color, and ethnicity primarily re-
fers to people’s ancestry, in the literature of gender, work, and
occupation these categories are often used interchangeably
(Cohn, 2000). Literature suggests that people’s race/ethnicity
has a profound influence on their workplace control (Cohn,
2000). Using discourse analysis to examine work-life experi-
ences of female Canadian clerical employees, Harkness et al.
(2005) found that minority people are subjected to lower work-
place decision making power than the dominant group. Another
study found that the power of decision making within work-
places is an outcome of different factors that include race and
job satisfaction (Näswall et al., 2005). Information from 400
nurses at a Swedish health care institute (91% of respondents
being women) showed that both decision making ability and
job security of nurses result from their race and job satisfac-
tion (Näswall et al., 2005).
Race has also been identified as a strong determinant of job-
related control among the social workers. Robinson (2009) sug-
gests that English social workers from minority groups often
experience lower self-esteem as compared to the workers from
the dominant group. Thus, the former group often report lower
work control than the latter (Robinson, 2009). Race affects
work control of the workers—irrespective of their educational
qualification. For example, Skinner (2002) studies gender and
racial/ethnic differences in work experiences for high school-
educated residents of New York City. His study measures
work-control in terms of workers’ power to make choices about
several aspects in their workplaces. Results show that work-
place control varies across racial/ethnic backgrounds of the
workers. Furthermore, African American and Hispanic Ameri-
can women perceived to have the least workplace control as
compared to the other groups (Skinner, 2002).
Job Satisfaction and Workplace Control
When workers perceive that they are happy with what they
do in their job settings, they tend to gain higher control over
their work (Bethge et al., 2009). Work-related satisfaction re-
sults from a number of factors such as work place policies, be-
nefits and rewards, relationship with supervisors, and physical
facilities within workplaces (Bethge et al., 2009; Binder et al.,
2010). Empirical studies on workplace control show that job
satisfaction reduces work stress of the workers. Thus, they per-
ceive to have more control on their work than workers with
lower level of job-satisfaction (Bethge et al., 2009).
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 211
Gender also interacts with job-satisfaction to impact work-
place control of the workers. “Women’s job satisfaction is one
of the key elements of their workplace control.” To examine
this proposition, Bethge et al. (2009) used the data from the
baseline survey of German SPE where 1463 working women
and men (aged 30 - 59 years) participated. Job satisfaction was
defined in terms of workers’ perceptions about workplace be-
nefits, relationship with supervisors, and flexibility in work
hours. Women employees with higher job satisfaction reported
greater workplace control as compared to women employees
with low job satisfaction. In their study of the faculty in a pub-
lic research institute in the United States, Binder et al. (2010)
found that women faculty who view themselves to be contented
with their teaching and research seemed to have more control
on their work than women faculty who are not happy with their
Job satisfaction and gender have been recognized as vital
predictors of workplace control within economics professions
as well (McDowell et al., 2001). McDowell et al. (2001) sug-
gest that over a period of 2 decades (1960s to 1980s), female
economists with lower job satisfaction had less control on their
work as compared to women with greater job satisfaction.
Again, Blau and Devaro (2007) used information from the
Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality Employer to examine
gender differences in workers’ job-satisfaction and decision
making abilities within their workplaces. Findings suggest that
women employees with higher level of happiness in workplaces
are more likely to make important work-related decisions than
women with lower level of happiness.
In addition to race/ethnicity, Näswall et al. (2005) found that
workplace control is also impacted by job satisfaction. Specifi-
cally, workplace decision making ability is least among the
people of the minority group who also perceive a lower extent
of job-satisfaction as compared to other groups of nurses.
Work-Family Conflict and Workplace Control
Just like gender, race, and job-satisfaction, work-family con-
flict has also been identified as one of the key determinants of
workplace control of the workers (Bethge et al., 2009; Grön-
lund, 2007). Moreover, studies suggest that work-family con-
flict is more important factor for women than men in terms of
workplace control. Grönlund (2007) makes a connection be-
tween work-family spillover and women’s work-life experi-
ences. She uses a survey data of 800 Swedish employees and
studies the impacts of gender and work-family tension on wor-
kers’ decision making power within workplaces. Her findings
suggest that important factor for women’s decision making is
not only the quantity of work but also its quality. This aggra-
vates work-family tension of women which in turn negatively
impacts their decision making power within job settings.
There are studies that address the interaction of race/ethnicity
and work-family conflict on workers’ workplace control. For
example, Harkness et al. (2005) conducted discourse analyses
to explore work-life dynamics of female clerical employees of
Canada. The authors suggest that minority employees with
higher work-family spillover participate in workplace decision
making processes much less than the other groups of workers.
Using discourse analysis to examine work-life experiences of
female Canadian clerical employees Harkness et al. (2005)
found that minority people are subjected to lower workplace
decision making processes than the dominant group. However,
to the best of our knowledge there exists hardly any study that
examines workplace control in terms of all the 4 key aspects
(gender, race, job-satisfaction, and work-family conflict) toge-
ther. This is what we have accomplished in this paper. There-
fore, based on the literature review, we hypothesize that:
H1: Gender has a significant impact on workers’ workplace
H2: Race/ethnicity has a significant impact on workers’
workplace control;
H3: Job-satisfaction of the workers have significant impacts
on workers’ workplace control; and
H4: Work-family conflicts of the workers have significant
impacts on workers’ workplace control.
Data and Methods
Data for this study are derived from The 2008 National Study
of Changing Workforce (NSCW), which was conducted by the
Family and Work Institute. The NSCW is a nationally repre-
sentative sample of workers across all workplaces in the US. A
total of 3502 interviews were completed with a nationwide
cross-section of employed adults. Interviews were conducted by
using the computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) sys-
tem. Calls were made to a stratified (by region) un-clustered
random probability sample generated by random-digit-dial me-
Sample eligibility was limited to the workers who (1) worked
at a paid job or operated an income-producing business, (2)
were 18 years or older, (3) were in the civilian labor force, (4)
resided in the contiguous 48 states, and (5) lived in a non-in-
stitutional residence (household with a telephone). In house-
holds with more than one eligible person, one was randomly
selected to be interviewed. Although interviewing began in
2007, 88% of interviews were completed in 2008. Thus, this
survey is referred to as the 2008 NSCW.
Of the total 42,000 telephone numbers called, 24,115 were
found to be non-residential or non-working numbers and 6970
were determined to be ineligible residences (1389 because no
one spoke English or Spanish well enough to be interviewed).
Of the remaining telephone numbers, 3547 were determined to
represent eligible households, and interviews were completed
between November 2007 and April 2008 for 3502 of these—a
completion rate of 99%. However, eligibility or ineligibility
could not be determined in the remaining 7368 cases. This
study focuses on workplace identities of salaried workers ac-
counting for gender and race. The total number of salaried male
workers in the sample is 1424 and that of female workers is
1345. Also, there are 2233 white and 505 non-white salaried
Dependent Variable
Workplace control: This variable includes 5 items. Four of
them are “I have the freedom to decide what I do on my job,”
“It is basically my own responsibility to decide how my job
gets done,” “I have a lot of say about what happens on my job,”
“I have the freedom to decide when I take breaks.” The re-
sponses are strongly disagree (1), somewhat disagree (2), some-
what agree (3), and strongly agree (4). The fifth item is “[In
your workplace] are you allowed to choose your own starting
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
and quitting times within some range of hours?” Responses are
no (1), and yes (2). Alpha for this variable is 0.70.
Independent Variables: De mogr aphic s
Gender is a dummy variable that is based on the question:
“Please excuse me, but I have to ask whether you are a man or
woman.” Here “female” is coded as 1.
Race is also a dummy variable with “white” coded as 1. The
variable is measured by the question: “What is your race?”
Response categories are: white (1); black or African American
(2); native American or Alaskan native (3); Asian, Pacific Is-
lander, or Indian (4); other, including mixed (5). All non-white
respondents are grouped together because there are too few
from any one category to analyze separately.
Partnered family is also a dummy variable: “Are you pres-
ently married, remarried, living with someone as a couple, sin-
gle and never married, divorced, widowed, or separated?” The
first three categories are coded as 1.
Parent to any children is a dummy variable. It is measured by:
“Are you the parent or guardian of any child of any age? Please
include your own children, stepchildren, adopted children,
grandchildren or others for whom you act as a parent.” Yes is
coded as 1.
Independent Variables: Human Capital
Education is determined by the question: “What is the high-
est level of schooling you have completed?” The responses are:
less than high school (1), high school or GED (2), trade or
technical school beyond high school (3), Some college (4), two-
year Associate’s degree (5), four/five-year Bachelor’s Degree
(6), some college after BA or BS but without degree (7), pro-
fessional degree in medicine, law, dentistry (8), Master’s De-
gree or Doctorate (9). Education is used as a continuous vari-
The variable years worked in the current job is measured by
the question: “How long have you worked for your current
employer or been involved in your main line of job?” This is an
interval-level variable.
Occupation is a dummy variable measured by the open-
ended question: “What kind of work do you do or what is your
occupation?” In the dataset there is a variable that has 2 catego-
ries of occupation: managerial or professional (1) and others (2).
Here “managerial or professional” is coded as 1.
Work-family conflict is an index of 4 items: “In the past
three months, how often have you NOT had enough time for
your family or other important people in your life because of
your job?” “In the past three months, how often have you NOT
had the energy to do things with your family or other important
people in your life because of your job?” “In the past three
months how often has work kept you from doing as good a job
at home as you could?” “In the past three months, how often
have you NOT been in as good mood as you would like to be at
home because of your job?” The responses are: never (1), rarely
(2), sometimes (3), often (4), very often (5). The alpha is 0.59.
Satisfaction with income is determined by the question:
“How satisfied are you with how much you earn in your main
job?” The response categories are: not satisfied at all (1), not
too satisfied (2), somewhat satisfied (3), very satisfied (4).
Perceived promotional opportunity is measured by the ques-
tion: “How would you rate your own chance to advance in your
organization?” The responses are: poor (1), fair (2), good (3),
excellent (4). This variable is used as a continuous variable.
Job satisfaction is measured by the question: “All in all, how
satisfied are you with your job?” Responses are not satisfied at
all (1), not too satisfied (2), somewhat satisfied (3), and very
satisfied (4).
Independent Variables: Wor kplace Context
Supportive workplace culture is a scale of 5 items: “There is
an unwritten rule at my place of employment that you can’t
take care of family needs on company time.” “At my place of
employment, employees who put their family or personal needs
ahead of their jobs are not looked on favorably.” “If you have a
problem managing your work and family responsibilities, the
attitude at my place of employment is: “You made your bed,
now lie in it!” “At my place of employment, employees have to
choose between advancing in their jobs or devoting attention to
their family or personal lives.” Response categories are: strongly
agree (1), somewhat agree (2), somewhat disagree (3), and
strongly disagree (4). The fifth item is, “At my company or or-
ganization where I work, I am treated with respect.” Responses
are strongly disagree (1), somewhat disagree (2), somewhat
agree (3) and, strongly agree (4). The alpha is 0.72.
Supportive supervisor is a scale of 10 items: “My supervisor
or manager keeps me informed of the things I need to know to
do my job well;” “My supervisor or manager has expectations
of my performance on the job that are realistic;” “My supervi-
sor or manager recognizes when I do a good job;” “My super-
visor or manager is supportive when I have a work problem;”
“My supervisor or manager is fair and doesn’t show favoritism
in responding to employees’ personal or family needs;” “My
supervisor or manager accommodates me when I have family
or personal business to take care of;” “My supervisor or man-
ager is understanding when I talk about personal or family is-
sues that affect my work;” “I feel comfortable bringing up per-
sonal or family issues with my supervisor or manager;” “My
supervisor or manager really cares about the effects that work
demands have on my personal and family life;” “I consider my
supervisor or manager to be a friend both at work and off the
job.” The responses are: strongly disagree (1), somewhat dis-
agree (2), somewhat agree (3), strongly agree (4). The alpha is
Coworkers’ support is a scale of 2 items. The questions are:
“I have the support from coworkers that I need to do a good
job;” and “I have support from coworkers that helps me to
manage my work and personal and family life.” The responses
are: strongly disagree (1), somewhat disagree (2), somewhat
agree (3), and strongly agree (4). The alpha is 0.68.
Methods of Analys es
Data analyses for this study are based on quantitative meth-
ods. The variability of all the variables was tested by running
frequency distributions. Variables with more-or-less normal dis-
tributions with acceptable skewness and kurtosis were included.
Next, factor analyses were conducted to construct scales for the
variables that consist of more than one item. Items with factor
loadings greater than 0.50, were included.
First, to examine the impacts of gender and race on the
workplace control of workers, we conducted independent sam-
ple t-tests. Second, via OLS regression we tested the impacts of
work-family conflict and job satisfaction (along with gender
and race, and other control variables) on workplace control. We
conducted the OLS regression in 3 sets following the examples
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 213
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
of Binder et al. (2010), Cohn (2000), and Grönlund (2007). In
the first set we introduced the demographics that included gen-
der and race among other variables. In the second set we intro-
duced human capital variables which included work-family
conflict and job satisfaction of the workers among other vari-
ables. In the third set we introduced workplace context vari-
ables. Human capital and workplace context are often consid-
ered as important factors that shape workers’ control over their
workplaces (Binder et al., 2010; Cohn, 2000; Grönlund, 2007).
Analyses were conducted by using SPSS 19.
The t-test results (in Tables 1(a) and (b)) suggest male has
significantly more (0.19) workplace control than female. In
terms of race, whites are more advantageous than non-whites
(0.86; p < 0.000) over workplace control. In order to further
explore which set of independent variables has more impact on
workplace control, we run progressive regression models in this
project (please refer to Table 2).
The base model examines only the relationship between
workplace control and demographic characteristics (race, gen-
der, marital status, and number of children). The results show
that all of the four factors except number of children have sig-
nificant impacts on workplace control. Firstly, the coefficient of
0.407 (p < 0.002) indicates that females are much more dis-
advantaged in workplace control than males. Secondly, being
Whites means having more control in workplace (B = 0.793 at
p < 0.000). Thirdly, Workers with families tend to have more
control (B = 0.414 at p < 0.019) in workplace as well than peo-
ple who are single.
In the second model, we added human capital variables (in-
cluding job satisfaction and work-family conflict) in to control
to see their impacts on workplace control. In this model, gender
and race remained significant in predicting how much control
one could have over workplace. Being female means significant
much less control over workplace compared to being male (B =
0.669). However, the amount of control for being whites de-
creased to 0.309 (p < 0.039) after taking human capital vari-
ables into consideration. These results suggest that human ca-
pital is stronger than race in predicting one’s ability ofcontroll-
ing over workplace. However, gender continues to be a strong
predictor of workplace control. For every increase in educa-
tional level, there is a significant increase of 0.190 (p < 0.000)
in workplace control. Having as managerial/professional job
gives individuals much greater control (B = 0.925 at p < 0.000)
over workplace than others. This result indicates that prestig-
ious job allows workers more freedom and control in their
workplaces. For every increase in work-family conflict, there is
a significant decrease in workplace control (B = 0.051). Satis-
faction and promotional opportunity are also positively associ-
ated with workplace control in a significant way. Last but not
the least, the more satisfied one is with one’s job, the higher
control one could have over his workplace (B = 0.423 at p <
0.001). The last three variables suggest that positive experi-
ences in workplaces give workers greater sense of control over
their working environment.
In the third model, we added workplace context into our re-
gression analysis to see if a supportive working environment
would help with one’s control over workplace. The results
show that having a supportive workplace culture and a suppor-
tive supervisor have positive significant impacts on workers’
control over workplace. Nevertheless, being female continued
to be significantly disadvantaged with regards to workplace
control (B = 0.712). This result indicates that gender is a
strong predicator of one’s workplace control and it is inde-
pendent of all other factors. This supports our H1. Race became
insignificant in model 3, which suggests that workplace context
plays a more important role than race in individuals’ control
over workplace. This partly supports our H2. Our H3 is also
supported because workers’ job satisfaction remained a power-
ful predictor of their workplace control. Initially (in model 2),
work-family conflict was a significant predictor of workplace
control. However, its impact was reduced with the introduction
of workplace context variables (in model 3). This suggests that
worker’s work-family conflict reduces when others support
them in their workplaces. This result partly supports our H4.
Table 1.
(a) Independent sample t-test comparing workplace control of women and men workers; (b) Independent sample t-test comparing workplace control
of white and non-white workers.
Workers Mean N F t-test
(equal variances assumed) t-test
(equal variances not assumed)
Women 13.02
(3.37) 1335
Men 13.44
(3.21) 1410
4.53 3.295**** 3.291****
Note: N is the total number of cases; Numbers in parentheses are standard deviations; ****Significance at p < 0.001.
Workers Mean N F t-test
(equal variances assumed) t-test
(equal variances not assumed)
Whites 13.40
(3.26) 2150
Non-whites 12.54
(3.36) 563
2.467 5.53**** 5.44****
Note: N is the total number of cases; Numbers in parentheses are standard deviations; ****Significance at p < 0.001.
Table 2.
Un-standardized coefficients from the regression using workplace identity as dependent variable and demographics, self-perceived competence and
reflected appraisals as independent variables.
Variables Model 1 Model 2 Model 3
Gender (female) 0.407**
Race (white) 0.793****
Family (partnered) 0.414**
Being Parent (yes) 0.010
Self-Perceived Competence
Years in current line of work 0.012
Occupation (managerial/professional) 0.925****
Work-family conflict 0.051**
Satisfaction with income 0.202**
Perceived promotional opportunity 0.133**
Job Satisfaction 0.423****
Workplace Cont ext s
Supportive workplace culture 0.097****
Supportive supervisor 0.051****
Coworkers’ support 0.109
Constant 12.484****
N 2514 2443 1987
F 10.19**** 55.84**** 39.20****
R2 0.016 0.202 0.218
Adjusted R2 0.014 0.198 0.212
Note: N = total number of cases; Numbers within parentheses are standard deviations; ****Significance at p < 0.001; **Significance at p < 0.05.
With the intention to study the impacts of gender, race, job-
satisfaction, and work-family conflicts on American workers’
workplace control, we asked three questions in this project: 1)
Do women and men workers in America differ in their percep-
tions of workplace control? 2) Do non-white and white workers
in America differ in their perceptions of workplace control?
And 3) Do gender and race of the workers influence their
workplace control when job satisfaction and work-family con-
flict are considered? Our findings show that women workers
perceive a lesser workplace control than their male colleagues,
net of their work-family conflicts and job satisfaction. Again,
non-white workers have less workplace control than whites.
But, the effect of race diminishes when human capital enters
the equation. Work-family conflict significantly reduces the
workplace control of the workers unless others in the workplace
support them. In addition, job satisfaction remarkably increases
the workplace control of the American workers.
Our study resonates with the literature that states that gender
has a significant influence on workers’ workplace control, and
most of the time that influence is negative (McDowell et al.,
2001; Blau & Devaro, 2007). With this data, we showed that
women have less workplace control than men even when we
control for workers’ human capital and workplace contexts.
Thus, it is possible that women are not completely empowered
in the 21st century American workplaces. However, the situa-
tion is not that bad as far as racial relations are concerned. Our
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 215
research suggests that racial differences decrease when we con-
trol for workers’ human capital, and they disappear when we
control for workers’ workplace contexts. Thus, these findings
do not confirm the empirical studies that suggest thatrace nega-
tively impacts workers’ workplace control (Skinner, 2002; Ro-
binson, 2009). This study also shows that work-family conflict
reduces workplace control of workers, more for women. But its
effect vanishes when supportive workplace context enters the
equation. Thus, we can say that having supportive workplace
culture and supportive supervisor helps women workers to re-
duce their workload considerably, which in turn reduces their
work-family conflict, and consequently, enhances their work-
place control. Most importantly, our findings suggest that job
satisfaction is a vital predictor of women workers’ workplace
control. This result also confirms the literature that posits that
job satisfaction of the workers improves their workplace control
(Bethge et al., 2009).
Workplace control is one of the key components of workers’
well being (Robinson, 2009). Thus, we intend to inform the
policy makers about the importance of women workers’ job
satisfaction. Our research shows that job satisfaction of the
women workers considerably improves their workplace control.
Thus by enhancing their job satisfaction, employers also con-
tribute towards their work related well being. While gender and
race continue to impact workers’ workplace control, but we
argue that a lot of gender and race related issues can be reduced
if employers provide a supportive workplace culture to dimin-
ish the work-family conflict of the women workers. At the
same time they should also try to take care of the job satisfac-
tion of the women workers to increase their workplace control.
We believe that taking positive measures towards women’s
work-family conflict and job satisfaction, gender related social
change in the workplaces is inevitable.
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