Profiles of stress

An empirical comparison of employee stress factor differences in Germany and the US

  • Marijaana Gunkel
  • Edward J. Lusk


According to The HR Magazine (May, 2006 p. 14), "Today, American workers are saying that they are accomplishing less than they did a decade ago and are feeling more rushed on the job". This is the point of departure for our study. Using a questionnaire based upon the work of Geert Hofstede, we surveyed employees of a MNC headquartered in Germany with branches in the US. We create three stress groupings: High, Middle and Low based upon selected variables meas-ured on Likert-type scales, e.g., How often do you feel nervous or tense at work? We examine these stress groups on a variety of variables to develop profiles of these three groups. The dataset with 1,300 observations on more than 75 variables provides a rich rendering of the profiles both overall and by country. For example, we find for both the German and US respondents that more stress is associated with less satisfaction in particular respecting Fringe Benefits and Having Challenging Work. And the German employees, who were classified as exhibiting high levels of stress, are less satisfied with Fringe Benefits than their US counterparts.