A Multilevel Cross-Cultural Examination of Role Overload and Organizational Commitment: Investigating the Interactive Effects of Context

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Abstract

Considering the influential nature of context, the current investigation examined whether the relationship between role overload and organizational commitment was affected by various contextual factors. Drawing on the occupational stress literature, structural empowerment and cooperative climate were examined as factors that would mitigate the negative effects of role overload on organizational commitment. In addition, national culture was examined to determine whether empowerment and cooperative climate had consistent moderating effects across cultures. The relationships among these variables were examined using hierarchical linear modeling in a sample of 6,264 employees working at a multinational organization in 337 different work locations across 18 countries. Results suggested that the negative effect of role overload on organizational commitment did not vary as a function of culture in the current sample, but empowerment and cooperative climate had a moderating influence on this relationship. Furthermore, a 3-way interaction was observed between the cultural variable of power distance, empowerment, and role overload in predicting organizational commitment, suggesting that factors that serve to mitigate the negative effects of role overload in one culture may be ineffectual in another. This 3-way interaction was observed regardless of whether Hofstede's (2001) cultural value indices were used or the cultural practice scores from the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) project (R. J. House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004).

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