ZeePedia Add to Favourites   |   Contact us

Organizational Psychology

<<< Previous MOTIVATION ACROSS CULTURES:Meaning of Work, Role of Religion Next >>>
Organizational Psychology­ (PSY510)
Motivation and motivators differ across cultures. Practices that might be highly motivating for
employees in one country may not be as effective in others. Some of the reasons for this variance
in motivational factors are as follows:
Meaning of Work
In some cultures work is more central to one's life than in other cultures. In culture's that value
work, people's self-identity is derived from their work; they "live to work". In culture's that place
less value on work, people's self-identity is tied to other factors such as family, friends, etc.; they
"work to live". Motivating workers in culture's valuing work can, in part, come from the work itself
and not the manager's actions.
In some countries, work is equated with monetary and economic rewards. People tend to work
because they want money to buy things and make their lives better. Thus people try to do
maximum amount of work in least possible time. They exert extra efforts on it therefore. They also
like to have things defined for them so that they know what is expected and when tasks should be
But motivation theories do no hold applicable uniformly over all countries of the world. Different
countries have different work habits and people tend to equate work with non-monetary rewards
also. The Japanese philosophy Kaizen, which means continuous improvement in lives is an
example of it. Kaizen means "improvement". Kaizen strategy calls for never-ending efforts for
improvement involving everyone in the organization ­ managers and workers alike.
The roles of work and the motivational processes of human resources in given cultures may also
change over time. For example, in recent years downsizing and increased competitive pressures
within organizations and people tend to work harder in order to remain with the organization.
Role of Religion
While not everyone is stringently religious, many people who are, agree that religion helps improve
daily motivation. Religion can be used as a great motivational tool for people from all walks of life.
Religion - no matter what kind - encourages mindfulness and internal motivation. The religious
People often depend on their religion when things are going downhill. Prayer and meditation
inspire those who might otherwise turn to drinking, food, or drugs to nurture their spirits. Religion
may help some people to be more mentally and physically healthy. Therefore, religion is a positive
source of daily motivation.
For instance, some religions place greater emphasis on allowing events to develop in their own
way, or just letting things happen. Many Hindus in India would follow this line of thinking. North
Americans, on the other hand, are more likely to practice religions that teach them to try to control
Uncertainty Avoidance
Uncertainty avoidance is a cultural measure of the degree to which people tolerate risk and
unconventional behavior. We live in a world of uncertainty. The future is largely unknown and
always will be. Societies respond to this uncertainty in different ways. Some socialize their
members into accepting it. People in such societies are relative comfortable with risks. They are
also relatively tolerant of behavior and opinions that differ from their own because they do not feel
threatened by them. Hofstede describes such societies as having low uncertainty avoidance. That is
people feel relative secure. Countries that fall into this category include Singapore, Sweden and
A society that is high in uncertainty avoidance is characterized by a considerable level of anxiety
among its people, which manifests itself in nervousness, high stress and aggressiveness. Because
people feel threatened by uncertainty and ambiguity in these societies, political and social
Organizational Psychology­ (PSY510)
mechanisms are created to provide security and to reduce risks. Their organizations are likely to
have more formal rules, there will be less tolerant for unusual ideas and behaviors and members
will strive to believe in absolute truths. Not surprisingly, in organizations in countries with high
uncertainty avoidance employee demonstrate relatively low job mobility and lifetime employment
is widely practiced policy. Countries in this category include Japan, Portugal, Pakistan, etc.
Power Distance
People naturally vary in terms of physical and intellectual abilities. This, in turn, creates differences
in wealth and power. How does a society deal with these inequalities? Hofstede used the term
power distance as a measure of the extent to which a society accepts the fact that power in
institutions and organization is distributed unequally. A high power-distance society accepts wide
differences in power in organizations. Employees show a great deal of respect those in authority.
Titles, ranks, and status carry a lot of weight. When negotiating in high power-distance countries,
companies find it helps to send representatives with titles at least as high as those with whom they
are bargaining. Countries high in power distance include Philippines, Venezuela, India and
In contrast low power-distance society plays down inequalities as much as possible. Superiors still
have authority, but employees are not fearful or in awe of the boss. Denmark, New Zealand, Israel
and Australia are examples of countries with low power-distance scores.
Nature of National Economy
This contribution has been made by Prof. Humair Hashmi. According to him, nature of economy,
i.e. free, controlled and mixed effect motivation
Acquired motives of an individual are to a great extent dominated by economic motives. In other
words it is the most important of the acquired motives. For an employee working in an
organization, the foremost incentive and motivation is certainly money. Therefore, the nature of
economy has a direct influence on motivation of an employee, since economy determines the
importance of the wealth that an individual has. Let us consider the motivation of an employee in
case of each of the three natures of economies separately, assuming utopian economies in the first
two cases:
Controlled Economy (Socialist Economy)
In a controlled economy, (centrally planned economy) all employees are government servants. The
key characteristic of such an economy is that all individuals have equal opportunities, and there is
no private ownership. Here private ownership refers to ownership of those resources which can
help an individual to generate income. Therefore every individual in this economy is guaranteed all
his or her basic necessities to survive. As a result the individual is not motivated to strive harder for
something. The employee working in an organization has no desire to work harder because he is
sure that his basis necessities of life would be fulfilled and his hard work would seldom render him
better off than his companions.
However the acquired motives if classified into the following two broad categories, the comparison
would become simpler:
·  Monetary Motives
·  Social Motives
Social motives such as the need for power, importance, etc. are as important in a socialist economy
as in the capitalist economy. It is so because of the fact that even in a socialist classless society,
classes exist. While each individual has equal opportunity in comparison to an individual with equal
abilities, opportunities are different for individual on the basis of their abilities. For example a
doctor would have different and more opportunities than a nurse who would have different and
greater opportunities than a sweeper. Therefore, every individual would have a drive and an
internal motivation to achieve the social status with the greatest opportunities. Once the individual
has reached the desired social status, he would have no further desire to work hard since he has no
Organizational Psychology­ (PSY510)
greater opportunities than his companions. A student would work hard to become a doctor. An
employee on the other hand would not work hard to be a manager unless and until he sees that the
manger has a much high social standing as compared to that employee. This renders the
motivation level in a socialist society low as compared to the capitalist society.
Free Economy (Capitalist Economy)
In a capitalist economy or a free market economy all decisions are made by the market. People are
not government servants and private ownership is allowed, i.e. ownership of those resources which
can be used to generate income. Therefore, all individuals, whether belonging to any strata of the
society, may have different opportunities as compared to his or her companions. This entails a
drive to achieve more and make the most use of the resources in possession and excel ahead of the
fellow individuals. Considering the two broad categories of motives:
·  Social Motives
·  Monetary Motives
In the capitalist society, the social motives then get attached to the monetary motives. As you go
on earning more, you keep on shifting to a higher level of social status. Therefore each individual
has two sorts of motives working with him at the same time. This renders the level of motivation
in a capitalist economy greater as compared to the socialist setup. For example, in a capitalist setup,
a doctor can own his private clinic and practice to earn more as compared to his companions. This
drive to be wealthier and therefore belong to higher strata of the society dominates the individual's
thinking and he is motivated. An employee working for an organization would be more motivated
to be a manager because a manager would earn much more than he does. Once he reaches that
level, he would also have the opportunity to enjoy the luxuries that the manager enjoys, owing to
the higher level of income. These luxuries would in turn render him to be more socially important.
Mixed Economy
A mixed economy which is the case in most countries is the one in which some resources are
owned by the government while some are privately owned. In such an economy the level of
motivation varies from the nature of resources and organization in which an individual is working.
For example in Pakistan, employees working in a government organization get a promotion in
which all are benefited at the same time. Grades of all servants are raised while in a private
organization the case is different. Individual rewards and benefits are given which motivates every
employee individually. The government servants would therefore be contented not to work hard if
only one of them is working hard because the benefits would be reaped by all of them. On the
other hand, in a private organization if an employee sees his co-worker being rewarded, he might
have the desire to earn the same reward for himself or herself.
Therefore, the nature of economy has an effect on the motivation levels of employees working in
an organization. Employees in a capitalist economy are more motivated to work harder as
compared to a socialist economy. This is due to the reinforcement of the social motives by the
monetary motives. This is the reason why a capitalist economy is more efficient as compared to a
socialist economy.
There is little evidence that motivation theories hold true across cultures while there is also
evidence against it. However some intervening or extraneous variables have been identified which
affect motivation theory effectiveness across cultures:
·  Cultural/ historical context
Cultural factors play a vital role in determining the validity of motivation theories across
cultures. Some of these factors are related with the factors mentioned above, such as
uncertainty avoidance, religion, power distance, etc. Hofstede's and Trompenaar's research are
important in this respect.
·  Human resource management practices/ policies/ideas
Organizational Psychology­ (PSY510)
Human resource management policies and practices differ widely across countries. Some
countries follow stringent human resource management policies while others do not.
Therefore, motivational factors also differ across due to his reason.
Mejia, Gomez. Balkin, David & Cardy, Rober. (2006). Managing Human Resources (Fourth
Edition). India: Dorling Kidersley Pvt. Ltd., licensee of Pearson Education in South Asia.
Luthans, Fred. (2005). Organizational Behaviour (Tenth Edition). United States: McGraw Hill
Employee Recognition Programs - Perks.com: The Perks incentive program solution is to
increase, motivate and reward deserving employees: http://employeerecognition.com/
Kaizen and Japanes  culture. 1000ventures organization website: Retrieved from:
Culture and Motivation. Salisbury website. Retrieved from:
The  Ownership  Culture  Report  (PDF).  Is  employee  motivation  the  answer?:
Geert  Hofstede:  Wikipedia,  the  free  encyclopedia  Uncertainty  avoidance:
Uncertainty Avoidance: Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology:
Culture - power distance: http://users.tkk.fi/~vesanto/ihfudge/culture-part2.html
HR Practices Guide: Implementing, and communicating workable HR policies for line
managers: http://hr.cch.com/products/ProductID-572.asp
A discussion of an economic theory that potentially could both increase wages but at the same time also
increase profits for firms:
Table of Contents:
  2. METHODOLOGIES OF DATA COLLECTION:Observational method, Stability of Measures
  3. GLOBALIZATION:Aspects of Globalization, Industrial Globalization
  4. DEFINING THE CULTURE:Key Components of Culture, Individualism
  5. WHAT IS DIVERSITY?:Recruitment and Retention, Organizational approaches
  6. ETHICS:Sexual Harassment, Pay and Promotion Discrimination, Employee Privacy
  7. NATURE OF ORGANIZATIONS:Flat Organization, Neoclassical Organization Theory
  8. ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE:Academy Culture, Baseball Team Culture, Fortress Culture
  9. CHANGING ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE:Move decisively, defuse resistance
  10. REWARD SYSTEMS: PAY, Methods of Pay, Individual incentive plan, New Pay Techniques
  12. PERCEPTION:How They Work Together, Gestalt Laws of Grouping, Closure
  13. PERCEPTUAL DEFENCE:Cognitive Dissonance Theory, Stereotyping
  14. ATTRIBUTION:Locus of Control, Fundamental Attribution Error
  15. IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT:Impression Construction, Self-focused IM
  16. PERSONALITY:Classifying Personality Theories, Humanistic/Existential
  17. PERSONALITY ASSESSMENT:Standardized, Basic Categories of Measures
  18. ATTITUDE:Emotional, Informational, Behavioural,Positive and Negative Affectivity
  19. JOB SATISFACTION:The work, Pay, Measurement of Job Satisfaction
  20. MOTIVATION:Extrinsic motive, Theories of work motivation, Safety needs
  21. THEORIES OF MOTIVATION:Instrumentality, Stacy Adams’S Equity theory
  22. MOTIVATION ACROSS CULTURES:Meaning of Work, Role of Religion
  23. POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY:Criticisms of ‘Traditional’ Psychology, Optimism
  24. HOPE:Personality, Our goals, Satisfaction with important domains, Negative affect
  25. EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE:EI IS Related To Emotions and Intelligence
  26. SELF EFFICACY:Motivation, Perseverance, Thoughts, Sources of Self-Efficacy
  27. COMMUNICATION:Historical Background, Informal-Formal, Interpersonal Communication
  28. COMMUNICATION (Part II):Downward Communication, Stereotyping Problems
  29. DECISION MAKING:History, Personal Rationality, Social Model, Conceptual
  31. JOB STRESS:Distress and Eustress, Burnout, General Adaptation Syndrome
  32. INDIVIDUAL STRESSORS:Role Ambiguity/ Role Conflict, Personal Control
  33. EFFECTS OF STRESS:Physical Effects, Behavioural Effects, Individual Strategies
  34. POWER AND POLITICS:Coercive Power, Legitimate Power, Referent Power
  35. POLITICS:Sources of Politics in Organizations, Final Word about Power
  36. GROUPS AND TEAMS:Why Groups Are Formed, Forming, Storming
  37. DYSFUNCTIONS OF GROUPS:Norm Violation, Group Think, Risky Shift
  38. JOB DESIGN:Job Rotation, Job Enlargement, Job Enrichment, Skill Variety
  39. JOB DESIGN:Engagement, Disengagement, Social Information Processing, Motivation
  40. LEARNING:Motor Learning, Verbal Learning, Behaviouristic Theories, Acquisition
  41. OBMOD:Applications of OBMOD, Correcting Group Dysfunctions
  42. LEADERSHIP PROCESS:Managers versus Leaders, Defining Leadership
  44. GREAT LEADERS: STYLES, ACTIVITIES AND SKILLS:Globalization and Leadership