Dissertation Defense by Pressley R. Rankin IV
Date and Time
Thursday, April 18, 2013 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall, Room 133
San Diego, CA 92110
WORK/LIFE BOUNDARY MANAGEMENT IN AN INTEGRATIVE ENVIRONMENT: A STUDY OF RESIDENCE LIFE PROFESSIONALS WHO LIVE AT THEIR PLACE OF WORK
There is growing interest in the topic of work/life balance in both the academic literature and the popular press. The notions of boundaries and boundary management are frequently invoked, especially in academic literature focused on people who work at home. To date, however, there have been no studies of boundary management among people who live where they work, even though this situation is commonplace in certain fields such as the residence life field within higher education. The purpose of this study was to understand how professionals in the residence life field use space, time, technology, and interpersonal relationship norms to engage in boundary management in what the literature suggests is a highly integrative environment. The study also focused on how boundary management is used to mitigate stress and prevent burnout.
This qualitative study used a constructivist grounded theory approach that included in-depth semi-structured interviews with twelve participants selected from a national survey of resident life professionals using maximum variation sampling strategies. The sample included both public and private universities and contained participants from six out of the nine ACUHO-I regions. Interview transcripts were coded using grounded theory methods of open and focused coding. The constant comparison technique and memo writing were used throughout the coding process to develop analytical categories and themes.
In addition to the typical codes, categories, and themes, the analysis generated two potentially more transferable products: (1) a continuum illustrating the degree to which resident life professionals set spatial, temporal, and/or interpersonal boundaries and (2) a process model of boundary management in a highly integrative environment. This model illustrates how boundary stressors like student needs, supervisor expectations and behaviors, seasonal and student events, staff needs, and the physical setup of the professional’s personal space, lead to integrative coping strategies that are primarily learned from experience residence life professionals.
Understanding the integrative environment and how residence life professionals learn to cope with constant boundary stressors is important for both resident life professionals and leaders who develop resident life policy. Increasing integrative coping strategies appears to help fight burnout and increase retention in an important job in residence life.
*USD graduate students and faculty are welcome to attend at no cost