Publication Date

August 1994


[Excerpt] Multidimensional scaling of statements that identify when individuals consider an activity in which one is engaged to be working was conducted on representative samples of the employed labor forces in Belgium, Germany, Japan and the USA at the time period 1982-83 and again at the time period 1989-92. Representative labor force samples of the employed labor forces in East Germany, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Beijing, China studied at the time period 1991-92 were subjected to the same MDS analysis. The results provide strong support that one dominant dimension underlying the way in which people define working ranges from individual cost to social contribution. Individuals who define working in burden and/or constraint terms emphasize costs to the individual. Individuals who define working largely in responsibility and exchange terms emphasize reciprocal exchange relations between the individual and the organization/society. Individuals who define working largely in social contribution terms emphasize the social benefits of working. The work definition structures found in each of the four countries with replication samples are quite stable over time. In total, the work definition responses of over 18,000 individuals were studied.


Suggested Citation
Ruiz-Quintanilla, S. A. & England, G. W. (1994). How working is defined: Structure and stability (CAHRS Working Paper #94-13). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.