Cross-Cultural Analysis of Building an Effective Motivational Process: China and Usa

Topics: Motivation, Culture, Cross-cultural communication Pages: 10 (2903 words) Published: May 6, 2013
National Research University – Higher School of Economics

Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs

Department of Strategic Management

Essay topic: “Cross-cultural analysis of building an effective motivational process: China and USA”

Moscow, 2013


Cross-cultural motivation4
Major cross-cultural concepts7
Building an effective model of cross-cultural motivation10


In the modern world it is essential to understand the cross-cultural peculiarities and manage them in order to succeed in business. It has to be done not only while negotiating, but also while being engaged in other management processes, such as: leadership, communication, decision making and problem solving and motivation. Little research has been done on cross-cultural motivation study, whereas it is the issue of utmost importance to motivate employees to work efficiently when doing business internationally. To illustrate the motivation cross-cultural process more precisely so that a real difference between cultures and types of motivations needed can be seen, this paper is concerned with two cultures, Chinese and North American.


The paper will be organized in the following way. First, popular motivation theories will be reviewed through the lense of cross-cultural management. Secondly, major cultural concepts studying the dimensions of national culture will be introduced on the example of China and US. Thirdly, the issues listed above will be applied to suggest a model of cross-cultural motivation in the case of North American culture meeting Chinese one. And, finally, the suggested model will be justified or demolished using the cases in existing practice.

The significance of the research is confirmed by the notion that motivation process is not universal, thus is should take into account the cultural differences. Moreover, companies doing business internationally should adapt its motivational systems to different cultures, which is not always possible due to standardized and unified processes in global companies. In this case the challenge is even more difficult to overcome: to create such motivational system that would satisfy the employees from all the cultures represented.

Cross-cultural motivation

Motivation is a psychological process which is concerned with the strength and direction of behavior and the factors that influence people to behave in certain ways. (Armstrong, 2009). The first theory worth mentioning would be Maslow’s theory representing the most famous classification of needs. (Maslow, 1962) It starts from the fundamental physiological needs and leads through a hierarchy of safety, social and esteem needs to the need for self-fulfillment. The theory is criticized for ignoring the cultural peculiarities. However, this disadvantage might be useful to understand how the motives differ across cultures and why the cultural differences should be taken into account. For example, Chinese culture would rather imply that social and esteem needs will dominate over self-fulfillment needs, whereas in US culture individual self-actualization need will be of higher value.

Relating to theory of needs comes the two-factor theory of motivation by Herzberg. According to the theory there are two sets of factors that influence job satisfaction: motivators- achievement, recognition, advancement, responsibility and the work itself and hygiene factors such as salary, working conditions, interpersonal relations, etc. Fulfillment of hygiene factors doesn’t necessarily lead to satisfaction, whereas motivators lead. (Herzberg, 1957). To illustrate the influence of listed above factors on job satisfaction an example is provided, in which US respondents rank the factors of job satisfaction: Table 1. (Popp, Davis and Herbert, 1986)

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