Psycho-social work dependency: a dualistic model and profile

Jyun Kai Liang, Hsin-Li Chang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – Many people feel a connection to their work that could best be described as a dependency, due to its intensity and importance to their overall self-concept. It is likely that psychological and social needs play a profound role in the connection people feel to their work; however, the explanatory power of these factors has been neglected in the literature, particularly with regard to cultural perspectives. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – To address this deficiency, the authors propose a profile multidimensional construct referred to as psycho-social work dependency, drawing on the Mandala model of self (Hwang, 2011b) and the Chinese composite self (Lu, 2003). The authors also developed a psychometrically sound 16-item questionnaire, the psycho-social work dependency scale, to measure this construct. A total of 1,314 valid questionnaires were obtained from employees in Taiwan to verify the reliability and validity of the instrument. Cross-validation was conducted using an independent sample of 278 valid questionnaires. Findings – The results indicate good reliability and validity. What follows is a discussion of four types of psycho-social work dependency: strong, loose, direct, and indirect. Implications and suggestions for future research are also presented. Originality/value – A cultural-inclusive construct-psycho-social work dependency was developed to best delineate the connections between Chinese employees and their work. This study expounded the definition, structure, measurement scale, and profile of psycho-social work dependency. These results could help OB researchers and practitioners to know more about the connections between employees and their work, especially for Chinese workers. This new construct may also stir up more studies to investigate the role of psycho-social work dependency in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-906
Number of pages18
JournalPersonnel Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Chinese composite self
  • Chinese employee
  • Dualistic model
  • Mandala model of self
  • Psycho-social work dependency
  • Quantitative
  • Scale

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