ORGANIZATIONAL STRESS AND COPING EFFECTIVENESS IN THE INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT: IMPLICATIONS FOR A CULTURAL THEORY OF STRESS
Bhagat, R.S. and Moustafa, K.S., University of Memphis, USA
Organizational stress is an important phenomenon in contemporary societies in all parts of the world, regardless of their cultural context. In this study, we sought to examine the effectiveness of two types of coping styles in ameliorating the effects of organizational stress on job satisfaction, job involvement and organizational commitment in eight different organizations in eight national contexts. These organizations were all in financial and high-tech sectors of the economies of the US, India, Germany, Japan, Spain, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Organizational stress was measured by well-established scales developed in the US, and the scales were appropriately translated and back-translated for Spain, Japan and Germany. The results are interesting, and they reveal the importance of problem-focused coping as opposed to emotion-focused coping as a mediator of stress-strain relationships in the majority of these contexts. Some of our findings were counterintuitive. For example, even though we predicted that emotion-focused coping would be more effective in collectivistic contexts, this was not the case. Problem-focused coping was a stronger predictor in many contexts, regardless of cultural differences. It was also found that decision latitude, an organizationally relevant property, was more effective in lowering the effects of stress on important organizational outcomes. In the area of stress and coping, such international studies are rather rare. With a team of over ten collaborators from eight different countries, we have developed a cultural theory of stress, which will be the focus of our presentation in Singapore.