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Cross-National Job Stress: A Quantitative and Qualitative Study Essay (Article Review)

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Updated: Jun 8th, 2022


Liu, C., Spector, P. E., Shi, L. (2007). Cross-national job stress: A quantitative and qualitative study. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 28, 209-239. Web.


In the present day, job stress may be regarded as a considerable threat to the occupational well-being of employees as the modern workplace and the world economy become more fast-paced and competitive. That is why a substantial number of studies related to organizational behavior were conducted in order to identify stressors (the sources of job stress) and strains (correspondent physical and psychological reactions that affect human behavior) (Liu, et al., 2007). However, various stress models that were proposed by scholars to explain the interdependence between stressors and strains were designed for Western societies predominantly. The results of the application of these models to non-western societies or to the investigation of job stress in cross-cultural and cross-natural settings cannot be regarded as valid (Liu, et al., 2007). That is why, in order to fill the substantial research gap, the exploratory study of Liu et al. (2007) examines the perceptions of job stress in two culturally dissimilar countries – the United States and China – using both quantitative and qualitative methods of research.

In general, the study aimed to contrast the employees’ perceptions of job stress and their attitudes to strains in the United States and China. In order to present a complete picture and capture a more reliable contrast related to work stress between two countries, researchers collected “both quantitative and qualitative data on samples of Chinese and U.S. workers” (Liu, et al., 2007, p. 212). They used each method to address a set of hypotheses and applied hierarchical regression analyses that revealed significant correlations between job stressors and strains in both countries.

According to the results of the qualitative analyses, Chinese employees reported a substantial number of job incidents related to work mistakes, job evaluations, employment conditions, indirect workplace conflicts, a lack of training, helplessness, anxiety, and sleep problems (Liu, et al., 2007). In turn, American employees reported more incidents related to a lack of job control and team coordination, direct interpersonal conflicts, frustration, anger, stomach problems, and feeling overwhelmed in comparison with Chinese (Liu, et al., 2007). The qualitative analyses supplied the qualitative results and revealed specific cultural job stressors of work mistakes, indirect conflicts, and job evaluations that were neglected in previous research.

Main Body

The research participants were randomly chosen from the University of South Florida in the United States and four universities in Beijing and Hubei, China (Liu, et al., 2007). They were sent survey packets with both quantitative and qualitative questionnaires. The second round of data collection was initiated to collect more qualitative data (Liu, et al., 2007). All answers were translated into English, and content analysis, quantitative mean comparisons, and hierarchical regression analyses were applied to make certain conclusions.

Data were collected from employees of universities, such as lecturers, instructors, full professors, associate professors, assistant professors, secretaries, civil workers, postmen, food processors, and accountants. In all universities in both countries, all employees were engaged in similar work according to their positions. Demographic differences between American and Chinese samples were relatively small, and participation was organized on an anonymous and voluntary basis. The authors of the research mailed survey packets to participants. Each packet contained a small gift, and both qualitative and quantitative questionnaires and was divided into two parts – quantitative scales and subsequent qualitative open-ended questions (Liu, et al., 2007).

The quantitative data were collected and measured by several scales including a three-item subscale from Hackman and Oldham’s (1976) Job Diagnostic Survey, Spector and Jex’s (1998) 4-item Interpersonal Conflict at Work Scale, a three-item frustration scale, and the Organizational Constraints Scale (Liu, et al., 2007). In addition, the measurement equivalence and invariance of scales were established initially before the conduction of the cross-cultural research. For the collection of qualitative data, the Stress Incident Record (SIR) technique was applied (Liu, et al., 2007). The participants of the study were asked to answer open-ended questions related to job stressors, interpersonal workplace conflicts, and organizational constraints, describe stressful events, and provide information concerning physical and psychological strains. The researchers initiated the second round of data collection to ensure that the results of the study will be reliable and valid.


From a personal perspective, the article represents comprehensive and detailed research dedicated to the comparison of the perceptions of job stress by the representatives of different cultures. As it was previously mentioned, this study has an obvious advantage over previous research as it originally addressed non-western society. Despite the fact that the authors of the research conducted it in only two countries, they provided the basis for further studies that may be dedicated to the examination of stressors and stains in Middle Eastern states and Latin America.

The quality of the article may be defined as exceptional. It fully corresponds to all standards of academic writing and provides a description of the study in exquisite detail. The article contains all parts of appropriate peer-reviewed research, such as an introduction, the theoretical part, the description of the method of the research, data collection, and subsequent analysis. In general, this article may be recommended for critical review by scholars who work in the sphere of business and organizational behavior.

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