French and British perceptions on stress at work and the role of job demand and enhanced coping resources
The aim of this research was first to identify the differences in the perceptions of stress among French and British managers. A second aim was to examine the levels of stress and the role of job demand, support, relationships at work and coping on well-being. Lastly, it was to evaluate the effects of coping resources on well-being. Interviews indicated that differences exist in the understanding of stress. British managers attributed causes of stress more to workload and deadlines, decision latitude and lack of information. French managers viewed relationships at work as a primary cause of stress, followed by incidents and organisational culture. Unclear job role was a similar and important source of stress in both samples. There was no evidence that French managers were more stressed than the British or that they viewed stress as an 'individual issue' as found in previous research. Regression analyses performed on a matching sample of managers (N=156), revealed that job demand had main effects on well-being and intention to quit the organisation in both national samples. However, as already suggested through the interviews, relationships at work turned out to be predictors of intention to quit the company only for the French managers. The UK managers in the repertory grid exercise more often mentioned the term coping in relation to stress than did the French managers. Only in the UK sample, were coping strategies correlated with well-being. While problem-oriented coping strategies correlated positively with well-being, emotion-focused strategies correlated negatively with well-being, confirming previous findings in studies on coping. A longitudinal test of the relationship between job demand and well-being and the moderating effects of coping resources among a French sample (N=150) indicated that some coping resources improved after a training intervention but had no direct or interactive effects on well-being. Only job demand was a significant predictor of well-being. Limitations of the study and implications for further cross-cultural research are discussed.