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Cultural heritage and job satisfaction in Eastern and Western Europe

  • Scott Fargher
  • Stefan Kesting
  • Thomas Lange
  • Gail Pacheco

Purpose – This paper aims to contribute to the growing body of empirical evaluations of subjective wellbeing by assessing the impact of basic cultural values and beliefs on job satisfaction across 20 countries in Eastern and Western Europe. Design/methodology/approach – Basic cultural values and beliefs are defined by reference to traditional vs secular values and survival vs self-expression values, respectively. Data derived from the European Values Study 1999/2000 are utilised, which provide detailed information not only on job satisfaction and socio-demographic characteristics, but also on individuals' subjective views on religion, family values, work, child-parent ties, political engagement, tolerance and interpersonal trust. Ordered probit regressions are performed to determine the significance of these characteristics, values and beliefs on job satisfaction. Findings – The study highlights the strong influence of a society's broad cultural heritage on individuals' wellbeing at work. This raises questions about the impetus for numerous motivational interventions by managers and consultants. Traditional cultural values exhibit a strong influence on workers' job satisfaction in Western Europe. Interpersonal trust serves as a particularly strong predictor of job satisfaction for both Eastern and Western Europe, and for both male and female workers. The main difference between Eastern and Western Europe is driven primarily by the importance of family and religion. Originality/value – In previous studies, job satisfaction has been strongly associated with measures of organisational culture. In contrast, the broad cultural heritage of a society as measured by its basic value and belief system has not figured prominently in this literature. This paper adds value by contributing to this fledgling field of empirical research.

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Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Manpower.

Volume (Year): 29 (2008)
Issue (Month): 7 (November)
Pages: 630-650

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Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:29:y:2008:i:7:p:630-650
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