Toward a Better Understanding of Global Work Demands and How They Relate to Global Competencies

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Previous research (Shaffer, Kraimer, Chen, & Bolino, 2012) identified three work demands that make global work distinct from “domestic” work: international travel, cognitive flexibility, and nonwork disruptions. The purpose of this study is to (a) develop and validate scales to measure these three global work demands, and (b) examine the relationship between the global work demands and employees’ global competencies. We first propose that different types of global workers (expatriates, international business travelers, global virtual team members, and global domestics) can be differentiated on the degree to which their work requires them to travel internationally, engage in cognitive flexibility, and have work disrupt their home life. We find general support for our hypotheses in two studies: one with 266 U.S.-based global workers and the second with 1524 European-based global workers. In Study 2, we also extend the theoretical foundation of global work demands by testing a model in which these demands relate to employees’ global competencies through two pathways: thriving and burnout. The results support the thriving pathway only. The two studies together provide strong validity evidence for the new scales and the importance of understanding the nature of global work in terms of the job demands.


Academy of Management Annual Conference (AOM)


Vancouver, B.C., Canada