Virtual work intensity, job satisfaction, and the mediating role of work-family balance: A study of employees in Germany and China. By: Qiu, Feng; Dauth, Tobias. German Journal of Human Resource Management / Zeitschrift für Personalforschung. Jun2021

This paper targets virtual work, an increasingly crucial alternative work arrangement in today’s interconnected world. Based on a survey of 308 employees working in Germany and China, we investigate the relationship between virtual work intensity, work-family balance, and job satisfaction through a mediator model. We find empirical evidence for an inverted U-shaped relationship between virtual work intensity and job satisfaction. When virtual work intensity is below a particular level, it is positively related to job satisfaction. However, increasing virtual work intensity begins to decrease job satisfaction when this threshold is exceeded. Our findings suggest this relationship between virtual work intensity and job satisfaction is mediated by work-family balance. Furthermore, empirical evidence demonstrates that the inverted U-shaped relationship has different optimums in different cultures. The research outcome demonstrates that the threshold is lower for Chinese employees than their German colleagues. This paper contributes to literature relating to job satisfaction, work-family balance, and virtual work by focusing on individual virtual work outcomes in a cross-cultural context. It also attempts to provide an alternative explanation for the generative mechanism of the impact of virtual work intensity on job satisfaction.