This study investigates the direct and moderating effects of Chinese work values and organizational commitment on the stress–job performance relationship. Chinese work values are the work‐related Confucian values of Chinese societies, and include collectivism, hardworking, endurance, and harmonious social relationships (guanxi). A three‐component (affective, continuance, and normative) conception of commitment (Meyer & Allen, 1991) is used. A self‐administered questionnaire survey collected data from two samples of Hong Kong employees during 2001. These samples included 386 (197 males, 179 females, 10 unidentified) and 145 (51 males, 94 females) respondents. The purpose of recruiting two samples was to replicate the stress–performance relationship in a Chinese setting to enhance generalization of the results. The results consistently revealed that sources of pressure and self‐rated job performance were negatively related. Furthermore, organizational commitment and Chinese work values were positively related to job performance. A series of hierarchical regressions, while controlling for age, tenure, and job level, revealed that Chinese work values and organizational commitment were significant stress moderators. Chinese work values were found to be significant moderators of the stress–performance relationship in both samples. However, those values only safeguarded performance when work stress was low or moderately high. When work stress was very high, employees with high levels of Chinese work values reported lower job performance. Organizational commitment, in contrast, protected employees from the negative effects of stressors and moderated the stress–performance relationship in a positive direction, but for the first sample only. The implications of the study are that it is essential to nourish work values among employees and cultivate employees' commitment to their organizations. However, in very high stress situations, it is more appropriate to alter the work environment to reduce stressors at work, in order to enhance job performance.
Copyright © 2003 International Union of Psychological Science
Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.