A multi-society examination of the impact of psychological resources on stressor–strain relationships

David A. RALSTON, Chay Hoon LEE, Pamela L PERREWE, Cheryl Van DEUSEN, Günther R VOLLMER, Isabelle MAIGNAN, Mo Lin, Moureen TANG, Man Kei, Paulina WAN, Ana Maria ROSSI

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper sequentially addresses a conceptual and an empirical goal. Our conceptual goal was to develop a globally relevant model of the relationship between work role stressors and strain using conservation of resources (COR) theory as our foundation. Stressors included in the model are role conflict and role ambiguity, with three resources – mastery, optimistic orientation, and self- esteem – as moderators on the stressor–strain relationship. With this conceptual framework developed, we explored our empirical goal, a test of the model using both societal-level and individual-level indicators. First, we pan-culturally tested the model across our seven-society sample. Next, we split these societies into high and low gross national income categories. Likewise, we split the respondents in our sample, regardless of their country, into high and low idiocentrism/individualism and allocentrism/collectivism categories and tested at these group levels. Our findings showed that personal resources – mastery, optimistic orientation, and self-esteem – generally served to buffer the experienced strain due to work role ambiguity and conflict. This study provides specific information that can assist the global business community in understanding how stress pervades their workforces. Overall, our findings offer substantial evidence that a global model of stress is truly viable, providing direction for future research on stress in the global workforce.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-670
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of International Business Studies
Issue number4
Early online date22 Oct 2009
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2010


  • conservation of resources model
  • cross-cultural management
  • evaluation of current theories
  • organizational behavior
  • organizational stress
  • psychological resources


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