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Self-employment and family life: A study of workers in Ghana's informal sector

last modified Sep 22, 2017 10:54 AM
Dr Brendan Burchell and Dr Francis Annor recieve funding from the Cambridge-Africa Alborada Research Fund to further research on self-employment and family life in Ghana

Congratulations to Dr Brendan Burchell and Dr Francis Annor for receiving a Cambridge-Africa Alborada Research Fund to further their research examining work-family conflict and enrichment in the informal employment sector in Ghana.

Dr Brendan Burchell, a reader in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge has a career-long interest in labour markets, in particular looking at gender, working conditions, working hours and self-employment. As well as being Dr Annor’s PhD supervisor, he has recently completed a project for the International Labour Organization (ILO) on youth self-employment in developing countries.

As a social/developmental psychologist and a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Ghana, Dr Francis Annor, has research interests in the interface between employment and family life from a cross-cultural perspective. He has recently completed a PhD comparing work-family conflict and enrichment in both Ghana and the UK.

One of the key findings in this research was the tendency for employees in the formal sector in Ghana to engage in multiple income generating activities in the informal sector, which had significant impacts on their ability to combine work and family roles. The study showed that experiences of work-family conflict and enrichment had significant impact on employees’ satisfaction with their jobs and family life as well as their psychological well-being. The research further highlighted interesting similarities and differences between employees’ experiences of conflict and enrichment in Ghana and the UK, suggesting that Western theories and research on the work-family interface cannot be readily applied in Ghanaian and sub-Saharan African contexts.

This new ~£6,000 research grant will allow Dr’s Burchell and Annor to expand upon their research, providing the opportunity for Drs Annor and Burchell to conduct semi-structured interviews (and possibly focus groups) in Ghana to develop both a better practical and theoretical understanding of these work situations. This project will also help strengthen existing ties between the University of Cambridge and the University of Ghana, particularly the respective Departments in which Drs Annor and Burchell are based.