Ill-being or well-being? Energising international business travellers



Rattrie L & Kittler M (2020) Ill-being or well-being? Energising international business travellers. Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 7 (2), pp. 117-137.

Purpose The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore well-being experiences of international business travellers (IBTs) and contribute to our understanding of personal and job characteristics as antecedents of ill- or well-being. Design/methodology/approach The authors’ insights are based on semi-structured in-depth interviews with 32 IBTs assigned to various destinations ranging from single-country travel to global operation. Participants in this study represent a range of traveller personas (regarding demographics, type of work, travel patterns). Thematic analysis is used to reveal new insights. Findings The authors’ analysis revealed trip-load (i.e. workload, control, organisational support) and intensity of travel (i.e. frequency, duration and quality) as job characteristics that sit on an energy stimulation continuum, driving work-related outcomes such as stress and burnout or health and well-being. Energy draining and boosting processes are moderated by cognitive flexibility and behavioural characteristics. Practical implications Findings represent a framework for managing IBT well-being via adjustments in job and travel characteristics, plus guidance for training and development to help IBTs self-manage. Originality/value The insights within this paper contribute to the conversation around how to enhance well-being for IBTs and frequent flyers. The study intends to offer direction as to which specific job, psychological and behavioural characteristics to focus on, introducing a novel framework for understanding and avoiding serious consequences associated with international mobility such as increased stress, burnout and ill-health.

Well-being; Energy; Recovery; Cognitive flexibility; Frequent flyer; International business traveller

Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance: Volume 7, Issue 2

Publication date20/06/2020
Publication date online16/06/2020
Date accepted by journal09/11/2019