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Title: Stress management of Hong Kong expatriate construction professionals in mainland China
Other Titles: Xianggang jian zhu ye zhuan cai zai Zhongguo nei di gong zuo de ya li guan li
Authors: Chan, Yee Shan Isabelle ( 陳綺珊)
Department: Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Subjects: Construction industry -- China -- Management -- Psychological aspects.
Stress management -- China.
Professional employees -- Job stress -- China.
Job stress -- China.
Notes: CityU Call Number: HD9715.C62 C43 2011
viii, 206, 47, [61] leaves 30 cm.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
Type: thesis
Abstract: Since the start of the recent economic boom in Mainland China (ML), the Chinese construction industry has undergone continuous expansion. As a result, many construction companies in Hong Kong (HK) have expanded their business into ML. The strategic changes in the direction of company business that this has made necessary have led to an increasing number of HK expatriate construction professionals working in ML (HKE-CPs-M). Taking up an expatriate assignment in ML involves not only job relocation, but also potentially having to face a language barrier, experiencing difficulties in cooperating with local colleagues who might have different personal and work traits, and facing barriers arising from different construction standards and systems, poor public security, poor-quality medical services, and so on. All these issues may escalate their stress levels. In addition, due to the misconception that there are a lot of cultural similarities between HK and ML, HKE-CPs-M are often not equipped with effective coping behaviors nor provided with appropriate organizational motivations. Clinical studies have shown that stress has a significant impact on an individual's performance. Thus, the purpose of this research study is to understand how the performance of HKE-CPs-M can be improved through stress management. To achieve this aim, three sequential studies were conducted in accordance with the triangulation method. The first step of the research was conducted by means of a focus group study with the aim of refining the conceptual Expatriate Stress Management model developed based on an extensive literature review. Six focus groups were organized in which group interviews were conducted with 44 HK-CPs who were working in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Macau, or HK, or who had returned to HK from the ML. Participants shared their experience about and points of view on the stressors, stresses, stress consequences (i.e., performances), coping behaviors, individual motivations to cope, and organization motivations in the ML context. The contextual data collected were analyzed and used to refine the conceptual research model. The refined model acted as the basis for the questionnaire survey design in the next stage of the study. The second stage was conducted by means of a large-scale questionnaire survey targeting HKE-CPs-M. Out of 500 set questionnaires distributed, a total of 137 were returned, accepted, and included in the study, representing a response rate of 27.4%. The quantitative data were analyzed by statistical techniques including factor analysis, reliability tests, Pearson correlation analysis, and curvilinear regression modeling. Based on the results of these statistical findings, structural equation modeling was adopted to develop a primary Expatriate Stress Management model for HKE-CPs-M. The third stage of the current study was conducted by means of case studies with the aim of cross-validating the above quantitative analysis results. Three case studies were organized, on which 22 HKE-CPs-M who were involved in three representative construction projects in Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou were interviewed personally. Based on the contextual data collected on the stress management processes experienced by the interviewees in the ML context, a qualitative Expatriate Stress Management for HKE-CPs-M was developed. The two models resulting from the questionnaire survey and cases studies were used for cross-validation. The final Expatriate Stress Management model was developed by corroborating the two models and identifying those hypotheses supported by both studies. The final model revealed that i) a poor workgroup relationship induces job stress, emotional stress, and physical stress; ii) quantitative work overload induces job stress, emotional stress, and physical stress; iii) a poor transportation system induces physical stress; iv) a pay differential induces physical stress; v) job stress worsens task performance but enhances interpersonal performance; vi) emotional stress enhances task performance; vii) physical stress worsens interpersonal performance; viii) instrumental support seeking reduces job stress; ix) motivation facilitates instrumental support seeking; x) financial support mitigates the negative impact of job stress on task performance, strengthens the positive impact of job stress on interpersonal performance, and mitigates the positive impact of emotional stress on task performance; and xi) career support mitigates the negative impact of job stress on task performance and strengthens the positive impact of emotional stress on task performance. Based on the results revealed by the model, recommendations were made for construction organizations and individual HKE-CPs-M respectively, which aim to manage the stress and optimize the performance of HKE-CPs-M through managing the stressors, motivating them to adopt effective coping behaviors, and providing them with appropriate organizational motivations. All in all, the current research study was completed successfully with all objectives being achieved.
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