Impacts of Culture on Human Behavior

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People within organizations vary in terms of culture, values and behavior and age gaps. With these intrinsic individual differences it is a challenge for managers/supervisors how to manage motivating these employees in terms of their differences. Many contemporary authors have defined the concept of motivation. Motivation has been defined as: the psychological process that gives behavior purpose and direction (Kreitner, 1995); a predisposition to behave in a purposive manner to achieve specific, unmet needs (Buford, Bedeian, & Lindner, 1995); an internal drive to satisfy an unsatisfied need (Higgins, 1994); and the will to achieve (Bedeian, 1993). Motivation is defined as a human psychological characteristic. It includes the factors that cause, channel and sustain human behavior. In simple phrase, Motivation deals with what makes people “tick”.

The five major approaches that may led to our understanding of motivation are Maslow's need-hierarchy theory, Herzberg's two- factor theory, Vroom's expectancy theory, Adams' equity theory, and Skinner's reinforcement theory. According to Maslow, employees have five levels of needs (Maslow, 1943): physiological, safety, social, ego, and self- actualizing. Maslow argued that lower level needs had to be satisfied before the next higher level need would motivate employees. Herzberg's work categorized motivation into two factors: motivators and hygienes (Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman, 1959). Motivator or intrinsic factors, such as achievement and recognition, produce job satisfaction. Hygiene or extrinsic factors, such as pay and job security, produce job dissatisfaction. Vroom's theory is based on the belief that employee effort will lead to performance and performance will lead to rewards (Vroom, 1964). Rewards may be either positive or negative. The more positive the reward the more likely the employee will be highly motivated. Conversely, the more negative the reward the less likely the employee will be motivated. Adams' theory states that employees strive for equity between themselves and other workers. Equity is achieved when the ratio of employee outcomes over inputs is equal to other employee outcomes over inputs (Adams, 1965). Skinner's theory simply states those employees' behaviors that lead to positive outcomes will be repeated and behaviors that lead to negative outcomes will not be repeated (Skinner, 1953). Managers should positively reinforce employee behaviors that lead to positive outcomes. Managers should negatively reinforce employee behavior that leads to negative outcomes.

But, why do we need motivated employees? According to Smith, it is for the organization’s survival. Motivated employees are needed in our rapidly changing workplaces. Motivated employees help organizations survive. Motivated employees are more productive. To be effective, managers need to understand what motivates employees within the context of the roles they perform. Of all the functions a manager performs, motivating employees is arguably the most complex. This is due, in part, to the fact that what motivates employees changes constantly (Bowen & Radhakrishna, 1991). For example, research suggests that as employees' income increases, money becomes less of a motivator (Kovach, 1987). Also, as employees get older, interesting work becomes more of a motivator.

Every person has different reasons for working. The reasons for working are as individual as the person. But, we all work because we obtain something that we need from work. The something obtained from work impacts morale, employee motivation, and the quality of life. To create positive employee motivation, treat employees as if they matter - because employees matter. But what do people really want from work? Some people work for personal fulfillment; others work for love of what they do. Others work to accomplish goals and to feel as if they are contributing to something larger than themselves. Some people have personal...
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