chapter twelve
Motivation Across Cultures
Copyright © 2009 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Chapter 12 Outline (1)
• The nature of motivation
– Two assumptions about motivation
• Content theories of motivation
– Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
– Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory
– Achievement Motivation Theory
Chapter 12 Outline (2)
• Process theories of motivation
– Equity theory
– Goal-setting theory
– Expectancy theory
• Motivation applied
– Work centrality
– Rewarding employees
The Nature of Motivation
• Motivation is a psychological process
through which unsatisfied wants or
needs lead to drives that are aimed at
goals or incentives.
Two Assumptions
about Motivation
1. The Universalist Assumption:
– Motivation process is universal; all people
are motivated to pursue goals they value
• Process is universal
• Culture influences specific content and
goals pursued
• Motivation differs across cultures
Two Assumptions
about Motivation (2)
2. The Assumption of Content and
Content Theories of Motivation:
Theories that explain work motivation in
terms of what arouses, energizes, or
initiates employee behavior.
Process Theories of Motivation:
Theories that explain work motivation by
how employee behavior is initiated,
redirected, and halted
Hierarchy-of-Needs Theory
• Maslow’s Theory
• Maslow’s Theory and international
• Adapting Maslow’s Theory to East Asia
• Maslow’s Theory and job categories
Hierarchy-of-Needs Theory
• Abraham Maslow - Every person has five
basic needs
• Physiological needs - food, clothing, shelter,
and other basic physical needs
• Safety needs - desire for security, stability, and
the absence of pain
• Social needs - need to interact and affiliate with
others and to feel wanted by others
• Esteem needs - needs for power and status
• Self-actualization needs – the desire to reach
one’s full potential by becoming everything one
is capable of becoming
Maslow’s Theory (2)
Lower-level needs must be satisfied before higherlevel needs become motivators
A need that is satisfied no longer motivates
Maslow's Theory &
International Managers
• Each country or geographic region appears to
have its own need-satisfaction profile
• Managers in U.S., U.K., Nordic Europe and
Latin America report that autonomy and selfactualization are the most important and least
satisfied needs.
– Some East Asian managers report even more
difficulty in satisfying these needs
• Study was conducted by Haire and others.
Adapting Maslow’s Theory
to East Asia
• Nevis suggested that the hierarchy of
needs is western-oriented and
focuses on the individual. Asian
societies focus on group concerns.
• Nevis suggested changing hierarchy
for China:
• Belonging (social)
• Physiological
• Safety
• Self-actualization (in the
service of society)
• There is no esteem need in Nevis'
Maslow's Theory and Job Categories
• Hofstede noted that the Haire study was
limited to managers
– Every culture has different sub-cultures
– Looked at job categories as sub-cultures
– Analyzed motivation by job categories
• Divided Maslow's hierarchy into 3 categories
– Low: physiological and safety needs
– Middle: social needs
– High: esteem and actualization needs
Highest-ranked Needs by
Job Category
• Unskilled workers: low-level needs
• Technicians: mix of needs from different
categories – at least one high-order
need and one low-level need
• Clerical workers: middle (social) needs
• Managers: high and mid-level needs
• Professionals: high-order needs
Goals Ranked by
Job Category
Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory
of Motivation
• A theory that identifies two sets of factors that
influence job satisfaction:
– Motivators: Job content factors such as
achievement, recognition, responsibility,
advancement, and the work itself. Only when
motivators are present will there be satisfaction.
– Hygiene Factors: Job-context factors such as
salary, interpersonal relations, technical supervision,
working conditions, and company policies and
administration. If hygiene factors aren’t taken care
of there will be dissatisfaction.
Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory (2)
Herzberg and Maslow
Herzberg’s Theory in an
International Context
• Several cross-cultural studies show that
motivators are more important than satisfiers
in motivating all levels of employees
• Motivators and satisfiers are not always the
same in different cultures
• Managers should focus on understanding the
motivators and satisfiers in the country where
they are working
Achievement Motivation Theory
• Theory holds that individuals can have a
need to get ahead, to attain success and to
reach objectives
• People who have strong a achievement need:
– Want personal responsibility for solving
– Tend to be moderate risk takers
– Want concrete feedback about their
– Often do not get along well with other
people or understand others’ concerns.
How to Encourage
Achievement Motivation
• Train people to
– Obtain feedback on performance
– Use the feedback to make efforts in areas
where they are likely to succeed
– Emulate people who have been successful
– Develop an internal desire for success and
– Daydream in positive terms by picturing
themselves as being successful in the
pursuit of important objectives
Country Comparisons
Achievement Motivation Theory
in an International Context
• Countries with high masculinity and low
uncertainty avoidance support achievement
motivation theory.
– These are primarily English-speaking countries and
some of their former colonies or territories (India,
Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa, the
– It is probably wise to use achievement motivation
theory in those countries.
Motivating People when Achievement
Motivation is not Effective
• Low masculinity and low uncertainty
avoidance: use quality of life as a motivator
• Low masculinity and high uncertainty
avoidance: use quality of life and security as
• High masculinity and high uncertainty
avoidance: reward success and provide
– In collectivist cultures, use group rewards
Process Theories of Motivation
• Equity theory
• Goal-setting theory
• Expectancy theory
Equity Theory
• Focuses on how motivation is affected by
people’s perception of how fairly they are
being treated
• When people believe that they are being
treated equitably, it will have a positive effect
on their job satisfaction
• If they believe they are not being treated fairly
(especially in relation to others)
– They will be dissatisfied, which will have a
negative effect on their job performance.
– They will strive to restore equity.
Equity Theory (2)
• Focuses on how motivation is affected by people’s
perception of how fairly they are being treated
• Research in western work groups supports the theory
• Limitations of the theory
– Perceptions of equity are not the same
– In collectivist cultures, people may accept unequal
treatment to preserve group harmony.
– Examples: Most countries in the Middle
East and Asia
– In some cultures, women may accept unequal
treatment (example: lower wages than men)
Goal-Setting Theory
• People perform best when they have
challenging goals and have a role in setting
those goals (participative goal setting).
– In the United States and in Israel, participative
goal setting with individuals increases both
motivation and performance
• International research on goal setting theories
– Employees in Norway and the United Kingdom
prefer to have management work with union
officials in setting work goals
– Participative goal setting with individuals may not
work well in collectivist cultures
Expectancy Theory
• Motivation is influenced by a person’s belief
that effort will lead to performance,
performance will lead to specific outcomes,
and that these outcomes are valued by the
• Theory is likely to work best in cultures where
employees believe that they have control
over what happens to them
• Expectancy theory has been used
successfully in Japan.
Summary of Motivation Theories
• Content theories
– Maslow’s hierarchy of
– Herzberg’s two-factor
– Achievement
motivation theory
• Process theories
– Equity theory
– Goal-setting theory
– Expectancy theory