Culture and the Working Life: Predicting the Relative Centrality of Work Across Life Domains for Employed Persons

Qing Lu*, Xu HUANG, Michael H. Bond

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Work centrality has been defined as individual beliefs regarding the importance of work in one’s life (Kostek, 2012). In previous research, however, the importance of work has rarely been contrasted with the importance of other life domains and never across sufficient cultural groups to enable cultural moderation of processes around work centrality to be unpackaged. Accordingly, the present study explores the relative centrality of work (RCW) in the lives of employed men and women around the world, examining its predictors by personal attitudes toward work and independence in the individual’s work context. Given that national cultures socialize their members differently regarding the goals of life, we explore the moderating influence of national Self-directedness versus Other-directedness and Civility versus Practicality (Bond & Lun, 2014) along with gender on these individual-level processes. Using 29,080 respondents to the World Values Survey from representative samples of employees in 45 countries, we found that RCW is predicted pan-nationally by the attitude complex, “work as good” (WAG). A nation’s Self-directedness and its Civility, however, amplify WAG effects. Independence at work only associates with RCW for males and for persons in nations socializing its members for Self-directedness and for Civility. These results show how gender and national cultures moderate the predictors of RCW for individual lives around the world, making many of these findings culture-bound.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-293
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology

User-Defined Keywords

  • gender/sex
  • independence at work (WI)
  • national goals for the socialization of children
  • relative centrality of work (RCW)
  • work as good (WAG)
  • World Value Survey


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