AbstractProject employees suffer increasing pressures brought by uncertainty, complexity, and temporality, especially in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. Complicated by both need-related factors and stress-related factors, a variable-centered approach to test the main effects of stressors on employee well-being cannot detect distinct configurations that may lead to the same outcome. Combining self-determination theory (SDT) and conservation of resources theory (COR), our study investigated the configural impacts of job stressors and psychological needs on employee well-being in Chinese AEC projects. By collecting 265 questionnaires from 27 Chinese AEC projects, we conducted a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA), and found that (1) the combination of SDT and COR provides multiple equifinal configurations sufficient to produce high or low employee well-being, and SDT is more salient than COR for the interpretation of well-being in AEC projects; (2) counterintuitively, role overload and role conflict can be contributive to employee well-being when certain psychological needs are satisfied; role ambiguity needs to be avoided for its salient threats to well-being; and (3) need for relatedness is particularly salient in all configurations for employee well-being in Chinese culture. We also found evidence for causal asymmetry for high and low well-being. Our person-centered approach yielded more theoretically consistent results than a variable-centered approach. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed.

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