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University of Cologne
Department of Economic and
Social Psychology
Christian Bosau & Lorenz Fischer
Job satisfaction cross-culturally:
Is it just acquiescence what we
measure?
Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 2
Background of the study
Job satisfaction (JS) in research:
§ JS is the most widely studied topic in organizational psychology (Judge et al., 2001)
§ however, most studies are anglo-american è can we generalize the results?!?
Are we really measuring „true“ satisfation?
Job satisfaction (JS) in organizations:
§ keyword: international employee satisfaction survey
§ the absolute level of JS often has direct consequences for leaders
§ intercultural measurement problems often are NOT considered
Main question: How can we compare the results of JS across national
and cultural borders?
Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 3
Cross-cultural JS-results
8,4 8,4
8,2
8,1
8,0 7,9 7,9 7,8 7,8
7,7 7,7 7,7 7,7 7,7 7,6 7,6 7,6 7,6 7,6 7,6
7,5 7,5 7,5 7,5
7,3 7,3 7,2
7,1 7,1
7,1 7,1 7,1 7,0 7,0 7,0 6,9 6,9 6,9
6,7 6,7
6,6 6,6 6,6 6,5
6,2
6,1
5,9
5,5
5
6
7
8
9
Switzerland
Malta
Denmark
Norway
Canada
Iceland
Ireland
Austria
USA
Sweden
Belgium
NorthIreland
Mexico
Japan
Argentina
Chile
Finland
Netherlands
Brazil
Luxembourg
Poland
Nigeria
Portugal
UnitedKingdom
Italy
Germany-West
Slovenia
CzechRepublic
Hungary
SouthAfrica-White
Germany-East
Spain
India
China
Slovakia
France
Lithuania
Greece
Croatia
Estonia
Rumania
Latvia
Bulgaria
Korea
Russia
Turkey
Ukraine
Belarus
• results from World-Values-Survey:
• very often: deskriptive intercultural results are published
(Slocum & Topichak, 1972; Lincoln et al, 1981; Griffeth & Hom, 1987; Near & Rechner, 1993; Chiu & Kosinski, 1999; van de Vliert &
Janssen, 2002; Llorente & Macias, 2005)
Unclear: Can we really just interpret those descriptive differences of JS directly?
Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 4
Problems of cross-cultural research
response styles and culture:
§ different cultures show different response styles, e.g. acquiescence (ARS)
(Hui & Triandis, 1989; Johnson et al., 1997; Chen et al.; 1995; Takahashi et al., 2002; Harzing, 2006)
§ different response style should be understood as different communicational behaviour, not
just methodological bias (Smith, 2004; Smith & Fischer R., 2006)
standardising of measures (see Fischer, R.; 2004):
with-in-subject, group centering, grand mean centering
problems:
§ measures are not independent from each other anymore
§ absolute level of measures is lost
§ interpretation is possible only in relation to standardising value (group or grand mean, etc.)
What can we do about it?
Note: Especially problematic if we want to compare absolute measurements,
like JS-levels of countries/subsidiaries/etc.!
Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 5
Method - secondary analysis
§ Data from World-Values-Survey & Eurobarometer
§ operationalisation of acquiescence response style (see Harzing, 2006) :
acquiescence-index 5-point-scale: ALL items, having received 5 or 4
MINUS ALL items, having received 2 or 1
§ aggregation to national level
§ correlation of national means (controlled for soziodemographic differences of nations, i.e. age,
gender)
Important question:
How will the JS-measurement be influenced by response styles?
Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 6
Nation-level-results - 1
results:
§ job satisfaction and ARS are indeed correlated: BUT negatively.
§ i.e., high measures of job satisfaction only occur in countries/cultures with small or no ARS
response tendency norms
Keeping in mind: in all countries respondents are on average satisfied with their jobs
§ Note: if ARS exist, respondents do not report dissatisfaction but only lower satisfaction
§ Fits with the self-construal results of Markus & Kitayama (1991): interdependent/collectivist
people – having higher ARS – are restrained in telling their personal feelings.
-.13 (14)
-.68** (11)
-.59*** (16)
-.71*** (16)
-.68*** (16)
Job Satisfaction
(nation-level-mean from
Eurobarometer)1
-.29 (25)ARS-index from Hofstede (2001)
-.47** (23)ARS-index from Harzing (2006)
-.38*** (47)
ARS-index 3 aus WVS
(4-point-scale ‚agree/disagree‘-label)
-.47*** (42)
ARS-index 2 from WVS
(5-point-scale ‚important/unimportant‘-label)
-.47*** (46)
ARS-index 1 from WVS
(5-point-scale ‚agree/disagree‘-label)
Job Satisfaction
(nation-level-mean from
World-Values-Survey)1
1 pearson-correlation coefficient; significance: *** p < .01, ** p < .05, * p < .10; in parentheses: number of countries
Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 7
Nation-level-results - 2
-.13 (14)
-.68** (11)
-.59*** (16)
-.71*** (16)
-.68*** (16)
Job Satisfaction
(nation-level-mean from
Eurobarometer)1
-.29 (25)ARS-index from Hofstede (2001)
-.47** (23)ARS-index from Harzing (2006)
-.38*** (47)
ARS-index 3 aus WVS
(4-point-scale ‚agree/disagree‘-label)
-.47*** (42)
ARS-index 2 from WVS
(5-point-scale ‚important/unimportant‘-label)
-.47*** (46)
ARS-index 1 from WVS
(5-point-scale ‚agree/disagree‘-label)
Job Satisfaction
(nation-level-mean from
World-Values-Survey)1
1 pearson-correlation coefficient; significance: *** p < .01, ** p < .05, * p < .10; in parentheses number of countries
§ the correlation is higher in european nations (countries of the EU)!
§ Note: european nations have – on average – better working conditions, since economic
wealth is higher (compared wordwidely)
§ we know: job satisfaction measurements are certainly influenced by working conditions as
well – not only communicational norms
Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 8
Re-test of WVS-data
§ Operationalisation working conditions : GDP (gross domestic product)
§ Median split into good (rich countries) and bad (poor countries) working conditions
Rich countries Poor countries
Job satisfaction
(nation-level-mean from
World-Values-Survey)
Job satisfaction
(nation-level-means from
Word-Values-Survey)
ARS-index 1 from WVS
(5-point-scale ‚agree/disagree‘-label) -.51* (22) -.02 (24)
ARS-index 2 from WVS
(5-point-scale ‚important/unimportant‘-label) -.51*** (22) -.34 (20)
ARS-index 3 aus WVS
(4-point-scale ‚agree/disagree‘-label) -.37* (23) -.04 (24)
ARS-index from Harzing (2006) -.61** (13) .08 (10)
ARS-index from Hofstede (2001) -.34 (19) sample to small
§ result: correlation remains important and significant only in rich countries with good working
conditions, almost no correlation within poor countries with bad working conditions
§ possible interpretation: following communicational norms becomes important only if a
sufficient working standard is established
1 pearson-correlation coefficient; significance: *** p < .01, ** p < .05, * p < .10; in parentheses (number of countries)
Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 9
New findings and current research
relationship of culture and response behaviour:
§ Acquiescence is high in cultures characterized by high collectivism (Harzing, 2006; Smith 2004)
new results: negativ relationship of acquiescence and job satisfaction (in rich countries)
We already know:
relationship of culture and job satisfaction:
§ JS-Level is higher in individualistic countries (see Hofstede, Judge, etc.)
hypothesis:
relationship of IND and JS might be only a
spurious correlation
relationship instead:
culture à response tendency à JS-measureIND JS
ARS
+
- -
Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 10
§ statistical analysis: mediation analysis (Baron & Kenney, 1986)
Test of mediation model
analysis by rich countries of WVS (N=21)
§ interpretation: relationship of culture and JS can be (almost completely) mediated by ARS;
thus: culture à response tendency à JS-level
total effect Individualism (Hofstede) job satisfaction
β = .39* (p=.08)
mediation model
job satisfaction
β = .20 (p=.39)
β = -.49** (p=.03) β = -.39 (p=.11)
Individualism (Hofstede)
ARS
§ same analysis with poor countries showed no total and no mediation effect
§ using several indicators for Individualism, ARS and job satisfaction in 8 different mediation
models we always get the same pattern of results
Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 11
§ statistical analysis: stepwise multilevel analysis with HLM 6 (Bryk & Raudenbush)
Multi-Level analysis
analysis by rich countries of WVS (N=21)
ARS individualindividual level
national level ARS norm
JS
.072-1.43*Step 2: ARS norm 5.31** (1)
Step 3: ARS individual .07 .078 4.31** (1)
Step 4: ARS individual – random slope 70.60** (1)
§ result: negative relationship with national ARS norm remains significant; on individual level
no clear relationship of ARS and JS
§ same analysis with poor countries showed no effects at all
Step 1: Basic Model, controlled for age & gender
unstand. beta SE
increase in model fit
Chi-Square (df)
Step 5: ARS norm x ARS individual -.04 .889 0.002 (1)
Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 12
Conclusion
Results:
§ indeed: JS-measurements are influenced by response styles (ARS)
§ consequence: measurements from different cultures cannot be compared directly
§ national level: negative relationship, i.e. the higher the norm to agree, the more
moderate the JS-measurement
§ individual level: no clear relationship, i.e. in some countries negative and in some
countries positive
§ individualism-JS-relationship can be understood as a spurious correlation
§ instead: cultural values and their socialization leeds to a specific communication
style that in turn influences the JS-measurements
In conclusion: Cross-culturally, we are not measuring „true“ satisfaction. To a
great extent we are getting results that are an expression of
culturally socialized communication norms!
Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 13
contact details:
Christian Bosau
Dipl.-Psych. & Master of HRM & IR
Department of Economic and Social Psychology
University of Cologne
Herbert-Lewin-Str.2
50931 Cologne/Germany
Tel. +49 (0)221 470-4120
christian.bosau@uni-koeln.de
Thanks for your attention

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Job satisfaction cross-culturally: Is it just acquiescence what we measure? Presentation Congress EAWOP Santiago de Compostela 2009

  • 1. University of Cologne Department of Economic and Social Psychology Christian Bosau & Lorenz Fischer Job satisfaction cross-culturally: Is it just acquiescence what we measure?
  • 2. Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 2 Background of the study Job satisfaction (JS) in research: § JS is the most widely studied topic in organizational psychology (Judge et al., 2001) § however, most studies are anglo-american è can we generalize the results?!? Are we really measuring „true“ satisfation? Job satisfaction (JS) in organizations: § keyword: international employee satisfaction survey § the absolute level of JS often has direct consequences for leaders § intercultural measurement problems often are NOT considered Main question: How can we compare the results of JS across national and cultural borders?
  • 3. Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 3 Cross-cultural JS-results 8,4 8,4 8,2 8,1 8,0 7,9 7,9 7,8 7,8 7,7 7,7 7,7 7,7 7,7 7,6 7,6 7,6 7,6 7,6 7,6 7,5 7,5 7,5 7,5 7,3 7,3 7,2 7,1 7,1 7,1 7,1 7,1 7,0 7,0 7,0 6,9 6,9 6,9 6,7 6,7 6,6 6,6 6,6 6,5 6,2 6,1 5,9 5,5 5 6 7 8 9 Switzerland Malta Denmark Norway Canada Iceland Ireland Austria USA Sweden Belgium NorthIreland Mexico Japan Argentina Chile Finland Netherlands Brazil Luxembourg Poland Nigeria Portugal UnitedKingdom Italy Germany-West Slovenia CzechRepublic Hungary SouthAfrica-White Germany-East Spain India China Slovakia France Lithuania Greece Croatia Estonia Rumania Latvia Bulgaria Korea Russia Turkey Ukraine Belarus • results from World-Values-Survey: • very often: deskriptive intercultural results are published (Slocum & Topichak, 1972; Lincoln et al, 1981; Griffeth & Hom, 1987; Near & Rechner, 1993; Chiu & Kosinski, 1999; van de Vliert & Janssen, 2002; Llorente & Macias, 2005) Unclear: Can we really just interpret those descriptive differences of JS directly?
  • 4. Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 4 Problems of cross-cultural research response styles and culture: § different cultures show different response styles, e.g. acquiescence (ARS) (Hui & Triandis, 1989; Johnson et al., 1997; Chen et al.; 1995; Takahashi et al., 2002; Harzing, 2006) § different response style should be understood as different communicational behaviour, not just methodological bias (Smith, 2004; Smith & Fischer R., 2006) standardising of measures (see Fischer, R.; 2004): with-in-subject, group centering, grand mean centering problems: § measures are not independent from each other anymore § absolute level of measures is lost § interpretation is possible only in relation to standardising value (group or grand mean, etc.) What can we do about it? Note: Especially problematic if we want to compare absolute measurements, like JS-levels of countries/subsidiaries/etc.!
  • 5. Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 5 Method - secondary analysis § Data from World-Values-Survey & Eurobarometer § operationalisation of acquiescence response style (see Harzing, 2006) : acquiescence-index 5-point-scale: ALL items, having received 5 or 4 MINUS ALL items, having received 2 or 1 § aggregation to national level § correlation of national means (controlled for soziodemographic differences of nations, i.e. age, gender) Important question: How will the JS-measurement be influenced by response styles?
  • 6. Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 6 Nation-level-results - 1 results: § job satisfaction and ARS are indeed correlated: BUT negatively. § i.e., high measures of job satisfaction only occur in countries/cultures with small or no ARS response tendency norms Keeping in mind: in all countries respondents are on average satisfied with their jobs § Note: if ARS exist, respondents do not report dissatisfaction but only lower satisfaction § Fits with the self-construal results of Markus & Kitayama (1991): interdependent/collectivist people – having higher ARS – are restrained in telling their personal feelings. -.13 (14) -.68** (11) -.59*** (16) -.71*** (16) -.68*** (16) Job Satisfaction (nation-level-mean from Eurobarometer)1 -.29 (25)ARS-index from Hofstede (2001) -.47** (23)ARS-index from Harzing (2006) -.38*** (47) ARS-index 3 aus WVS (4-point-scale ‚agree/disagree‘-label) -.47*** (42) ARS-index 2 from WVS (5-point-scale ‚important/unimportant‘-label) -.47*** (46) ARS-index 1 from WVS (5-point-scale ‚agree/disagree‘-label) Job Satisfaction (nation-level-mean from World-Values-Survey)1 1 pearson-correlation coefficient; significance: *** p < .01, ** p < .05, * p < .10; in parentheses: number of countries
  • 7. Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 7 Nation-level-results - 2 -.13 (14) -.68** (11) -.59*** (16) -.71*** (16) -.68*** (16) Job Satisfaction (nation-level-mean from Eurobarometer)1 -.29 (25)ARS-index from Hofstede (2001) -.47** (23)ARS-index from Harzing (2006) -.38*** (47) ARS-index 3 aus WVS (4-point-scale ‚agree/disagree‘-label) -.47*** (42) ARS-index 2 from WVS (5-point-scale ‚important/unimportant‘-label) -.47*** (46) ARS-index 1 from WVS (5-point-scale ‚agree/disagree‘-label) Job Satisfaction (nation-level-mean from World-Values-Survey)1 1 pearson-correlation coefficient; significance: *** p < .01, ** p < .05, * p < .10; in parentheses number of countries § the correlation is higher in european nations (countries of the EU)! § Note: european nations have – on average – better working conditions, since economic wealth is higher (compared wordwidely) § we know: job satisfaction measurements are certainly influenced by working conditions as well – not only communicational norms
  • 8. Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 8 Re-test of WVS-data § Operationalisation working conditions : GDP (gross domestic product) § Median split into good (rich countries) and bad (poor countries) working conditions Rich countries Poor countries Job satisfaction (nation-level-mean from World-Values-Survey) Job satisfaction (nation-level-means from Word-Values-Survey) ARS-index 1 from WVS (5-point-scale ‚agree/disagree‘-label) -.51* (22) -.02 (24) ARS-index 2 from WVS (5-point-scale ‚important/unimportant‘-label) -.51*** (22) -.34 (20) ARS-index 3 aus WVS (4-point-scale ‚agree/disagree‘-label) -.37* (23) -.04 (24) ARS-index from Harzing (2006) -.61** (13) .08 (10) ARS-index from Hofstede (2001) -.34 (19) sample to small § result: correlation remains important and significant only in rich countries with good working conditions, almost no correlation within poor countries with bad working conditions § possible interpretation: following communicational norms becomes important only if a sufficient working standard is established 1 pearson-correlation coefficient; significance: *** p < .01, ** p < .05, * p < .10; in parentheses (number of countries)
  • 9. Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 9 New findings and current research relationship of culture and response behaviour: § Acquiescence is high in cultures characterized by high collectivism (Harzing, 2006; Smith 2004) new results: negativ relationship of acquiescence and job satisfaction (in rich countries) We already know: relationship of culture and job satisfaction: § JS-Level is higher in individualistic countries (see Hofstede, Judge, etc.) hypothesis: relationship of IND and JS might be only a spurious correlation relationship instead: culture à response tendency à JS-measureIND JS ARS + - -
  • 10. Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 10 § statistical analysis: mediation analysis (Baron & Kenney, 1986) Test of mediation model analysis by rich countries of WVS (N=21) § interpretation: relationship of culture and JS can be (almost completely) mediated by ARS; thus: culture à response tendency à JS-level total effect Individualism (Hofstede) job satisfaction β = .39* (p=.08) mediation model job satisfaction β = .20 (p=.39) β = -.49** (p=.03) β = -.39 (p=.11) Individualism (Hofstede) ARS § same analysis with poor countries showed no total and no mediation effect § using several indicators for Individualism, ARS and job satisfaction in 8 different mediation models we always get the same pattern of results
  • 11. Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 11 § statistical analysis: stepwise multilevel analysis with HLM 6 (Bryk & Raudenbush) Multi-Level analysis analysis by rich countries of WVS (N=21) ARS individualindividual level national level ARS norm JS .072-1.43*Step 2: ARS norm 5.31** (1) Step 3: ARS individual .07 .078 4.31** (1) Step 4: ARS individual – random slope 70.60** (1) § result: negative relationship with national ARS norm remains significant; on individual level no clear relationship of ARS and JS § same analysis with poor countries showed no effects at all Step 1: Basic Model, controlled for age & gender unstand. beta SE increase in model fit Chi-Square (df) Step 5: ARS norm x ARS individual -.04 .889 0.002 (1)
  • 12. Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 12 Conclusion Results: § indeed: JS-measurements are influenced by response styles (ARS) § consequence: measurements from different cultures cannot be compared directly § national level: negative relationship, i.e. the higher the norm to agree, the more moderate the JS-measurement § individual level: no clear relationship, i.e. in some countries negative and in some countries positive § individualism-JS-relationship can be understood as a spurious correlation § instead: cultural values and their socialization leeds to a specific communication style that in turn influences the JS-measurements In conclusion: Cross-culturally, we are not measuring „true“ satisfaction. To a great extent we are getting results that are an expression of culturally socialized communication norms!
  • 13. Bosau & Fischer – job satisfaction cross-culturally 13. – 16.05.2009 – EAWOP 2009 – Santiago de Compostela Seite 13 contact details: Christian Bosau Dipl.-Psych. & Master of HRM & IR Department of Economic and Social Psychology University of Cologne Herbert-Lewin-Str.2 50931 Cologne/Germany Tel. +49 (0)221 470-4120 christian.bosau@uni-koeln.de Thanks for your attention