Examining the Critical Factors for Managing Workplace Stress in the Construction Industry : A Cross-Regional Study

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Original languageEnglish
Article number04021045
Journal / PublicationJournal of Management in Engineering
Issue number5
Online published9 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


Construction professionals (CPs) usually bear significant responsibilities for the achievement of project success and, thus, have long experienced numerous workplace stressors in the demanding construction industry. The perception of stressors and, in turn, the generation of stress is largely affected by an individual’s socioeconomic background and cultural values. However, previous research mainly examined the factors for CPs’ stress in a single location. Little is known about regional differences in stressor-stress patterns globally. To better manage stress and enhance the well-being of CPs worldwide, comprehensively examining the stressor-stress interaction of CPs through a cross-regional study is necessary. This research involved a questionnaire survey with more than three hundred and fifty CPs from Hong Kong (HK) and Suzhou. A series of statistical analyses on the collected data produced a number of major findings about the stressors and stress experienced by CPs in the two cities: (1) the HK CPs experienced a higher level of objective stress but a lower level of subjective stress than their Suzhou counterparts did; (2) the HK and Suzhou CPs faced different stressors at work; (3) work overload and poor environment were critical stressors for both the HK and Suzhou CPs; and (4) group cohesion significantly affected only the stress of Suzhou CPs. Practical suggestions were provided for managing CPs’ stressors and stress, including realistic job assignments and organizing of frequent social gatherings, team-building activities, stress management seminars, and training. This study reveals different patterns of stressor-stress interactions for CPs in the two typical developed regions, which might inspire a future comparative study to explore the underlying mechanisms for CPs’ stress in the context of different regions globally. This study further extends the body of knowledge on global stress management in the construction management field and is valuable to improving the effectiveness of existing stress management practices.

Research Area(s)

  • Construction professional, Cross-regional comparison, Hong Kong, Stress, Stressor, Suzhou