Influence of Individual Characteristics on Work Engagement and Job Stress in a Sample of National and Foreign Workers in Switzerland

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Abstract.In most Western postindustrial societies today, the population is aging, businesses are faced with global integration, and important migration flows are taking place. Increasingly work organizations are hiring crossnational and multicultural workteams. In this situation it is important to understand the influence of certain individual and cultural characteristics on the process of professional integration. The present study explores the links between personality traits, demographic characteristics (age, sex, education, income, and nationality), work engagement, and job stress. The sample consisted of 618 persons, including 394 Swiss workers (200 women, 194 men) and 224 foreigners living and working in Switzerland (117 women, 107 men). Each participant completed the NEO-FFI, the UWES, and the GWSS questionnaires. Our results show an interaction between age and nationality with respect to work engagement and general job stress. The levels of work engagement and job stress appear to increase with age among national workers, whereas they decrease among foreign workers. In addition, work engagement was negatively associated with Neuroticism and positively associated with the other four personality dimensions. Finally, job stress was positively associated with Neuroticism and Conscientiousness, and negatively associated with Extraversion. However, the strength of these relationships appeared to vary according to the worker's nationality, age, sex, education, and income.

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