Exploring Positive and Negative Consequences of Global Work Demands

global work meeting
Topic(s): stress, wellness, work-life balance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (2022)
Article: A Transactional Stress Theory of Global Work Demands: A Challenge, Hindrance, or Both?
Authors: M.L. Kraimer, M.A. Shaffer, M.C. Bolino, S.D. Charlier, O. Wurtz
Reviewed by: Josie Anker

Many employees work in an international context and this work is associated with unique job demands. Researchers (Kraimer et al., 2022) surveyed a sample of global employees and their spouses in order to examine how the different work demands are associated with employee wellbeing. In particular, the authors focused on three types of global work demands: travel, personal life disruptions, and adapting to cross-cultural differences.


The results of the study show that the need to adapt to cross-cultural differences can be both harmful and beneficial; it was associated with increased work-family conflict, but was also associated with increased thriving (i.e. the ability to overcome challenges and engage in personal development). Additionally, international travel was associated with employee thriving, but only for employees who worked in jobs with fewer personal life disruptions. Next, personal life disruptions were associated with increased burnout and work-family conflict. Finally, when employees had a lower need to adapt to cross-cultural differences, personal life disruption was related to lower amounts of employee thriving.


This research has several practical implications for organizations who have employees working in an international context. For example, the authors suggest that if a job has a high level of personal life disruption that cannot be reduced, managers may wish to increase the need to adapt to cross-cultural differences (e.g., by encouraging their employees to learn more about the country they are doing business with). This is because the authors found that when there is a high level of personal life disruption, adaptation to cultural differences can lead to increased thriving.

Additionally, the authors suggest that organizations should try to reduce personal life disruption (e.g., allow flexibility in work schedules) when a high level of international travel is required. This is because employees with higher travel demands were more likely to thrive when they also experienced lower levels of personal life disruption. 


Kraimer, M. L., Shaffer, M. A., Bolino, M. C., Charlier, S. D., & Wurtz, O. (2022). A transactional stress theory of global work demands: A challenge, hindrance, or both? Journal of Applied Psychology. Advance online publication.