Motivation Behaviour Arousal


Motivation is fundamental to human behaviour. Bartol and Martin (1998)

define motivation as the force that energises behaviour, gives direction to

behaviour, and underlies the tendency to persist. Similarly, Greenberg and

Baron (1997) define motivation as “the set of processes that arouse, direct,

and maintain human behaviour toward attaining some goal”. There are three

key parts to this definition: arousal, drive, and mobilisation of effort.

Arousal is the initial feeling of interest that a person has toward attaining a

particular goal. The second aspect of the definition, direction, is what people

will do and actions they will take to get closer to attaining the end result. For

instance, in the American culture, if an individual is trying to get the next

promotion, he will probably stay at work late to do additional work and develop

excellent relationships with the key decision-makers. The third element

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of this definition of motivation, mobilisation of effort, refers to the

persistence or maintenance of the behaviour until the goal is attained. This

means that the candidate desiring a promotion will continue the aforementioned

behaviour until promotion is reached.Motivation has been defined as the psychological process that gives behaviour purpose and direction (Kreitner, 1995); an internal drive to satisfy an unsatisfied need (Higgins, 1994); and the will to achieve (Bedeian, 1993). In psychology, motivation refers to the initiation, direction, intensity and persistence of behavior (Green, 1995). In simplistic terms, we can define motivation as the desire and willingness to do something and the inner force that helps individuals achieve their goals. Understanding what motivates Indian youths in to take u employment in the UK is one fo the objectives of this study. The study starts off by discussing the relevant motivation theories to better understand the motivational divers.

Schools of Thought

There are two schools of thought on motivational theories, the scientific school of thought and the behavioural school of thought.

Scientific Model

The scientific management considers employees as an input to the production of goods and services. The approach stresses on scientific selection, training and development of workers instead of allowing them to choose their own tasks and training methods and its objective is to carry out work in accordance with scientifically devised procedures. One of the pioneers and inventor of scientific approach to management was Frederick Taylor (1856-1915) who was the first to analyse human behaviour scientifically with his machine model by making individuals into the equivalent of machine parts. He broke down the tasks to its smallest unit to figure out the best approach. After careful analysis of the job, workers were trained to do only those motions essential to the task. Taylor attempted to make a science for each element of work and restrict behavioural alternatives facing worker and looked at interaction of human characteristics, social environment, task, and physical environment, capacity, speed, durability and cost. The overall goal was to remove human variability (Terpstra, 2005).

Behavioural approach

Unlike scientific approach behaviour approach places emphasis on what motivates people and seeks to identify and account for the specific influences that motivate people. Some of the distinguished theories of behavioural approach to motivation are discussed below.

Maslow (1943) put forward the ‘hierarchy of needs theory' which saw human needs in the form of a hierarchy, ascending from lowest to the highest. He argued that lower level needs had to be satisfied before the next higher level need and once one set of needs is satisfied, this kind of need ceases to be a motivator.

The five needs are:

  • Physiological needs - These are the most basic human needs which are important for sustenance like food, water, warmth, shelter, sleep etc. Maslow argued that unless physiological needs are satisfied to a degree, no other motivating factor can work.
  • Safety or Security needs - These are needs to be free of physical danger and emotional harm like the fear of losing a job, property, food or shelter. It relates to security, protection and stability in the personal events of everyday life.
  • Social Needs - These are needs for love, affection and belongingness and social acceptance. People are social beings and try to satisfy their needs for acceptance and friendship.
  • Esteem - Once people's social needs are satisfied, they look for esteem (reputation). This need produces such satisfaction as power, prestige status and self confidence. It includes both internal esteem factors like self-respect, autonomy, achievements and external esteem factors such as recognition and attention as well as personal sense of competence. (Source)
  • .Self actualization - This need is the drive to become what one is capable of becoming. It's the need to grow and use abilities to the fullest potential. It includes growth and self-fulfillment by achieving one's potential to accomplish something
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Looking at Maslow's hierarchy of needs triangle, as each needs are substantially satisfied, the next need becomes dominant. (eg. esteem needs become dominant after social needs are satisfied).Also, when a need gets substantially satisfied, it stops to be motivating. The crux of Maslow's theory is to focus on finding out the level of hierarchy the person is in and focusing on satisfying his/her needs and the needs above it.

Frederick Herzberg's (1959) famous quote says ““If you want people to do a good job, give them a good job to do.” Herzberg's motivational theory has a two component approach and is known as the two-factor theory. His theory suggests that things which prevent dissatisfaction are not the same as things which create satisfaction. (Herzberg, 1959) When people are dissatisfied (de-motivated) with their work it is usually because of discontent with environmental factors which he terms as “Hygiene Factors". These hygiene factors include factors such as, security, status, relationship with subordinates, personal life, salary, work conditions, relationship with supervisor, company policy and administration (Bedeian, 2003). These are the factors whose presence in the organization is natural and does not lead to motivation, however its absence does lead to de-motivation. Hygiene factors include the work and the organizational environment. The second component of the theory involves factors whose absence causes no dissatisfaction but whose presence has huge motivational value. Herzberg terms these factors as ‘Motivational factors' which are factors such as growth prospects, career progression and advancement, responsibility, challenges, recognition and achievements.

Diagramatic representation of Herzberg two-factor theory (Taken from Web 2)

Vroom's Expectancy Theory

Vroom's expectancy theory argues that motivation is based on values and beliefs of individuals and examines motives through the perception of what a person believes will happen. It is based on the belief that employee effort will lead to performance and performance will lead to rewards (Vroom, 1964). The theory states that individuals can be motivated if they believe that there is a positive correlation between the efforts they put in and their performance and when that favourable performance leads to a reward. Consequently, the reward helps satisfy an important need and the desire to satisfy that need is strong enough to make the efforts worth wile. Vroom's theory can apply to any apply to any situation where someone does something because they expect a certain outcome. The theory is about the associations people make towards expected outcomes and the contribution they feel they can make towards those outcomes (Bowen,1991)

Most of the behavioural theories seem to borrow a little from each other. Maslow's theory concentrates on basic human needs, Herzberg's two factor theory brings out the distinction between motivation-demotivation. Because of its quantitative nature, Vroom's theory, is more suited to managers trying to gauge the effect of decisions on employees. Maslow describes which outcomes people are motivated by and Vroom describes whether they will act based upon their experience and expectations. (Harpaz,2004) Maslow's theory can be too simple and rigid for today's environment. Porter-Lawler model brings out the perceived inequality and brings out the demerits of discriminatory practices which may be more suitable for more diversified workforce. All behavioral theories have their own significance and its up to the management to decide which theory to apply. Application of motivational theories is purely contextual and specific to a particular workforce. Workplace might merge two theories and apply some of the features of each. Because of its contextual nature, none of the theories are generic and better than the other. However, there is an underlying difference between the two approaches to motivation. Scientific approach assumes that work is inherently unpleasant to most people and the financial incentive is more important to them than other factors such as nature of job, role profile, work environment etc. While the behavioural approach to management emphasises the role of social processes in organisations and stresses on belongingness and the need to feel useful. It emphasises that these human needs motivate employees more than money.

Motivational Drivers and the drive factors

In recent years, the international mobility of trained personnel has increased owing to the growth of the knowledge financial system, the graduating globalization of markets and firms, the increasing demand for rare abilities, and wider political and economic concerns. There has been an ever-increasing discussion about the impetus and consequences of such relocation as a way of lessening domestic skill constrictions. (Pearson and Morrell, 2002). Drive factors are those things that create an urge within you to say good-bye to your nation to go to other country. Drive factors recognized by Awases, Gbary, & Chatora (2003) consist of monetary factors (substandard wages), institutional factors (dearth of appropriate work amenities and tools), professional factors (dearth of career growth prospect) and political factors (socio-political insecurity).

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Draw factors consist of those things that gravitate the populace on the way to another nation. Drag factors promoting immigration comprises of opportunities for professional growth, ambition for a fine living standard, personal protection, better earnings and learning opportunities (Kingma, 2001; Buchan, 2001). As per the literature, different nations have experienced different influences because of the draw-drive of global relocation. Constructive influences are the financial profits linked with the production of remittance earnings (Huston, 2006). It is expected that that internationally, remittances account for more than 70 billion dollars to world economies (Oulton, 2004). More generally, however, contributor nations report “brain drain”- the loss of trained workers and the loss of investment in learning (Kline, 2003) that is experienced when rare human resources move somewhere else. Global relocation intimidates international health because the “loss of human resources due to immigration of expert health staff to bloomed nations generally gives rise to a loss of ability of health systems in budding nations to give health care justifiably” (ICN, 2004). Immigration of personnel also chips away at the ability of nations to meet international, local and nationwide promises and even their own growth (ICN, 2004). For these reasons, the Commonwealth Code of Practice for the International Recruitment of Health Workers (2003) does not encourages the aimed recruitment of health personnel from nations which are facing shortages. Aiken, Buchan, Sochalski, Nichols, & Powell (2004) agree, arguing that budding nations are required to do all they can to generate sustainable expert personnel that meet their own requirements.

As a result of that, both political and socio-economic state of affairs should be regarded as imperative drive factors for mass departure from different nations (Massey et al., 1999). Yet, the question remains as to which are the driving factors that make people leave their country and how immigration actually happens. From a neoclassical financial point of view, flows of toil shift from low-pay and low-employment nations to high-remuneration and high-employment nations. It is supposed that the individuals' cogent resolution to leave his country is all because of a comparison between the prospective earnings level in the host nation and their real earnings in their own nation. After analyzing everything in terms of cost-benefit one takes decision to leave his country if he/she finds that the benefits are greater than the costs over a certain period of time. (Borjas, 1990).

The decision makers

Nevertheless, choices to go to the other country are not made by a single person, but it rather involves larger units of people associated with one another. (households or families). As a straight reaction to neoclassical molds, which believe a rational entity acting in a socio-economic vacuum, quite a few intellectual taking the home plan approach affirm that choices to go to the other country are not made by a single person but by bigger units of people related to one another, i.e. home or families (Hondagneu- Sotelo, 1994). From an financial point of view, Stark and associates recommended that individuals in home or families take action as a group not only to capitalize on the projected earnings, but also to reduce the risks related to a number of market breakdowns (e.g., credit and insurance markets). For underprivileged families in budding nations, institutional instruments for managing risk are not perfect, present, or accessible, which makes migration a viable strategy so as to branch out risks (Stark, 1991).

The participating recruitment on behalf of the hosting nation is also a key factor describing the primary connection between the labor marketplace of the receiving country and migrants from budding nations. Requirement of overseas personnel in these societies is all because of the incapability of local companies to employ personnel for the secondary segment of the financial system. Local companies start searching for overseas personnel, since indigenous personnel are not "ready" to work under stiff circumstances, low wages, insecurity, and dearth of better scope in future. (Massey et al., 1998) Both draw and drive factors zero in on circumstances that generate global immigration flows. However, as the time passes, new and self-governing factors, like social set of connections and institutional constructions, grow as a result of immigration. These growths help, in turn, to perpetuate immigration over time (Massey et al., 1998).

It has been recommended that draw and drive factors inspire personnel to migrate and look for job in other country where drive factors are reasons to migrate like low wages, restricted career prospects, joblessness or civil turbulence and draw factors are inspirations or circumstances that draw immigrants to other nations like demand for personnel or a better quality of life. This notion has been further developed to classify personnel as lasting or short-term migrants based on their reasons for migrating. For instance, permanent migrants may be 'financial migrants' who are fascinated to better living standards and who may send small fortunes to their homeland or 'career migrants' who are fascinated to improved career prospects. Short-terms movers are those who are on a 'working holiday' where know-how is used to business travel, or 'the study tour' where new information and methods are obtained for use when they get back to their home (Buchan et al,1997).

Westcott and Whitcombe (2003) propose that the benefits provided by the globalization of professional remedy have not been fully comprehended, mainly in reference to teaching. One research has been done to notify writers of UK speech and language treatment syllabus by making use of the standpoints of existing and past global learners (Marshall et al., 2004).

The inspirations, experiences and standpoints of global health and social concern experts nonetheless have not been comprehensively explored, chiefly in reference to labor force dynamics, personnel suppleness (Nancarrow, 2003) and the understanding and managing of the international flow of health and social concern personnel. This pilot research intends to seize beginning data on the viewpoints and purposes of health and social care experts of non-UK origin and training who have at some juncture migrated to and worked in the UK.

The main inspirations for this set of experts to work in the UK were journey, money and career prospects. These inspirations match with study conducted by Buchan (2000), whereby most respondent in this research were 'short-term movers', following 'the working holiday'. This was chiefly true for those who are from Australia and New Zealand. By the same token, respondents were comparatively youthful. These results epitomize study conducted by Birrell et al (2001) who reports 70% of Australian experts who work abroad get back and are generally aged between 20 and 30. Also showed in this research was a inclination for globally skilled health personnel to fill short-term, locum positions in the NHS. A report for the UK Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (Buchan and O'May,2000), identifies a key 'draw' factor for abroad physiotherapists is the relative ease with which they can find relatively well paid short-term work in the UK, giving them better choice over the locality and period of service.

When probing the perspectives and understandings of the respondents, it is imperative to consider their original inspirations to migrate to the UK and how this may influence their understandings and viewpoints. For instance, the greater parts of respondents were inspired to shift to the UK by the chance to tour. Opinion may then be from the viewpoints of a holiday enjoyer, working to finance travels rather than from the viewpoint of a full time worker working to pay a mortgage, for instance. Intensions can also be changed over time depending on different conditions, for instance the intensions of and enticements for immigrating nurses to the UK have been made known to change over time as individual and socio-economic conditions change (Allan and Larsen, 2003).

It has also been seen in the UK that people give up the UK business segments mainly because of the dearth of ways and means, paucity of self-government and feeling underprivileged (Pearson et al., 2004). In the like manner, a group of UK physiotherapy students and experts noticed physiotherapy in the NHS to be living stressful and having more workload, paucity of workers and equipments in the ramshackle stage (Park et al., 2003).

UK Job Market and the related motivational factors for Indian Youths

In UK, the fastest growing segments of the foreign workforce have been in financial service and technical field. The explosive growth in the use of foreign professionals in the high-tech area--highly educated workers skilled in new technologies-has been reported by many like (Source).

(Source) states that the core work dimensions like skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback influence three critical psychological states (experienced meaningfulness of the work, experienced responsibility for outcomes of the work, and knowledge of the actual results of work activities). These states, in turn, are predicted to lead to four possible outcomes (level of internal work motivation, quality of work performance, level of satisfaction with the work, and levels of absenteeism and turnover). Three factors affect the relationship between core job characteristics and outcomes: an individual's growth need strength (the degree to which individuals need personal growth and development on the job), job context satisfactions (with pay, job security, coworkers, and supervisors), and knowledge and skill. In other words, individuals are more likely to be motivated by job characteristics if they have high growth need strength, if they are satisfied with other aspects of the job context such as pay and job security, and if they have the knowledge and skills needed to perform well.

In relation to the private-public motivational differences, the empirical research

confirmed similarities between employees concerning the fulfilment of their

achievement and self-actualisation needs (Posner and Schmidt, 1996). The need for

job security has also been found to be similar in the two sectors (Gabris and Simo,

1995), while Rainey (1982) concluded that public sector managers cared less about

monetary rewards compared to private sector managers. On the contrary, the

opportunity to serve society and the public interest matter more to public than private

employees (Crewson, 1997; Rainey, 1982). Turning more specifically to the relationship

between public sector performance and motivation, the empirical investigation on the

topic is limited, mainly due to the difficulties associated with the measurement of

public sector outcomes (Stein, 1986). The seminal studies of Crewson (1997) and Brewer

and Selden (1998) have documented the positive correlation of the two concepts and

initialized several surveys thereafter. Following research that attempted to survey the

impact of motivation on performance considered only a few factors that affect

organisational outcomes (Brewer and Selden, 2000) and was mainly centred on the

provision of extrinsic incentives. Thus, Paarsch and Shearer (2000) indicated a positive

association among work outcomes, public employees' motivation and

performance-related pay designs, whereas Wright (2007) implied the positive

relationship between the availability of extrinsic rewards and organisational

performance. Concerning the intrinsic type of motivation, Rainey and Steinbauer

(1999) suggested that the effectiveness and performance of public agencies may be

enhanced by three interrelated levels of rewards, namely task, mission and public

service, Wright (2007) emphasized on public ethos, while Frank and Lewis (2004) have

stressed the importance of public employees in such work characteristics as

meaningful service and job security. The most important variable, which affects the 1st hidden unit with its presence, is

the provision of pay incentives (x2). The 1st hidden node is also strongly affected by

increased security in the workplace (x5) and partially affected by communication and

cooperation in the working environment (x3) and limited opportunities offered to

employees to take responsibilities (x12). Following our literature review and theoretical

development section, results from Table IV indicate that the 1st hidden unit (h1)

represents the extrinsic type of motivation. The 2nd hidden unit is also affected by the

motivator item x12 (though in this case in a positive way); namely the opportunity

offered to employees to take responsibilities. Opportunity for hierarchical

advancement (x4) is the second highest in importance variable. The other relevant

contributory weights ranked in order are the opportunities to advance the field of

employees' expertise (x7) and the need for competence (x11). Accordingly, it seems

plausible to support that the 2nd hidden unit (h2) represents the intrinsic type of

motivation. The weights from the hidden units (h1 and h2) to the output unit ( y) are

presented in Table VI. Our findings indicate that in the extended public sector of Greece public

administrators attempt to motivate their employees and improve productivity by

emphasizing on extrinsic rewards and more specifically by the provision of fair wages

and increased job security. However, the effectiveness of this pattern is strongly

questionable for the years to come for two reasons: First, some recent amendments to

the existing legislation and the restructuring and downsizing of the public sector in

Greece will lead to the decline of traditional job security (Portugal also seems to

comprise a similar interesting case). Second, partly as a result of the economic policy

adopted by the Greek governments, the increased level of unemployment in Greece

(approximately 10 per cent in 2005) and the fact that in recent years we have witnessed

an unparalleled decline in union membership in the public sector, it is hard to support

an optimistic scenario concerning an increase in the wage range that would satisfy

public servants. In addition, the evidence provided strongly challenges the benefits of

using external rewards as a way to trigger higher performance levels. Although pay

and benefits might inspire some people to excel in public sector jobs, our empirical

findings stress the importance of intrinsic incentives upon the performance of the

organisations under investigation. Finally, our results record the existence of a

multifaceted context of employees' needs and satisfaction determinants, which is

strongly differentiated in relation to their demographic characteristics and ability.

Whereas, financial rewards continue to have considerable appeal among employees,

intrinsic incentives (creative work, recognition for achievements, more autonomy

within the workplace) seem also to generate high performance. This is another

argument to support the synergistic effect between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation,

indicating the complexity of the motivational construct and underling the difficulty to

capture effectively all its facets in a real world setting.

This article aimed to examine the relevance of three theories of motivation -

Maslow's Need Hierarchy, Herzberg's Two Factor Theory and Vroom's

Expectancy Theory - to employees in the United States and in Japan. This

article tried to show that different cultural backgrounds have an impact on

the relative importance of different motivational drivers. For example,

American employees are driven by improving themselves and their own positions

in life, an individualistic approach, whereas Japanese employees are

motivated by the success of the group as a whole, which is a collectivistic

approach. Theorists and practitioners continue to look for universal laws or

motivational techniques that can be applied among the different cultural

groups. Tests on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs have shown that individuals

across the world are motivated by essentially the same fundamental human

needs. The main difference between Japanese and American employees lies

in their definitions of need satisfaction. For example, self-actualisation is

likely to mean different things to employees from individualistic cultures

than it does to employees from collectivistic cultures.

Volume 26 Number 1 2003 37

Do All Carrots

Look The Same?

As the world becomes increasingly a global economy, further research is

needed to show managers how they can best manage individuals from different

cultural backgrounds. How might Chinese workers be motivated?

There is evidence from studies undertaken in China, and among Chinese

cultures, that particular motivational considerations apply in the Chinese

context, and that certain motivational techniques have been successfully




developed and employed. Child (1994) believes (following Tung, 1991) that the

way Chinese enterprises motivate employees can be understood within Katz

and Kahn's (1978) model of “rule enforcement”, “external rewards” and

“internalised motivation”. By expanding this model slightly, we can produce at

least a partial explanatory model of motivation which may be employed in the

Chinese context, and from this to make certain propositions about how MNCs

may better motivate their Chinese employees, as follows.

Rule enforcement (acceptance of the legitimacy of role prescription and

organizational directives)

Rather than the use of rules and role prescriptions being seen as addressing

uncertainty avoidance, it may be regarded as a form of role protection in the

Chinese context. Child (1994) provides the example of job descriptions carrying

little motivational content in terms of tasks or objectives to be achieved, but as

an insurance against being asked to take on additional and unknown duties and

against being overworked. This may also be indicative of the avoidance motive,

in not wanting to take risks because of a deep seated fear of punishment.

However, the reverse side of the coin is the incentive to find ways around tightly

enforced regulations in state enterprises in order to facilitate their running.

Therefore, in order first to provide employees with a psychologically safe

foundation from which to work effectively:

Proposition 1: There is a need to structure work tightly around well defined

parameters which are documented, communicated and accepted by

employees and supervisors, with an emphasis on role protection as well as

task performance.

External rewards (attaching of incentives to produce desired performance


Material incentives have been used by China's economic reformers in order to

stimulate performance (Child, 1994). In terms of reward systems there is

evidence that money is important in China as a motivator for employees. Also

individual bonuses have existed in China since 1978 (Locket, 1987) and

performance-related bonus incentives schemes since 1983 (Cyr and Frost, 1991).

Cyr and Frost (1991) report on a survey undertaken in Eastern China in 1989

which indicates that workers would rather function in a system where pay is

based on individual performance. However, there has been a tendency towards

low differentiation of pay in an egalitarian reward system, reflecting a need to

minimise competition and foster harmony in the workplace: a reflection of a

strongly collectivist culture. Where pay differentials exist they are often based

on length of service, perhaps reflecting respect for old age. It is also the case that

state enterprise employees' wage structures are extremely complex and based

on a whole number of different subsidies, bonuses and allowances (Henley and

Nyaw, 1987; Laaksonen, 1988). Employees may be reluctant to leave this type of

system in favour of a less socially supportive one. Although there is


companies and

Chinese workers


contradictory information about the desirability of performance-related pay, we

know that there is a strong tradition of status accorded by ascription rather

than achievement, and often based on age and length of service. Even in

European countries which are more ascriptive than the UK or USA, Managing

by Objectives (MBO) type systems have been largely unsuccessful, particularly

when related to pay (for the example of France, see Barsoux and Lawrence

(1990)) as young, high performing new-comers to the organization may be

rewarded more highly than those of a higher status in the organization.

Individual performance incentives also often ignore the longer-term, groupfocused

performance which may be more important in a collectivist society, and

instead focus on the short-term performance of individuals in isolation. Also,

within Chinese society, there is an expectation that the enterprise will take care

of employees through housing and other social benefits, which must have a

strong loyalty effect. On an understanding that performance is short-term,

while loyalty and belongingness are long-term:

Proposition 2: Systems of pay should retain a strong element of reward

through loyalty and seniority, as well as “belongingness” elements such as

housing allowances.

Internalised motivation (the internalisation of organizational and political

cultural factors)

A major source of internalised motivation in China has been through political

indoctrination and campaigning (Tung, 1991). For example, there have been a

number of “emulation campaigns” in communist China following the Soviet

pattern where workers are encouraged to strive to become “labour heroes”.

Chimezie et al. (1993) describe this as an attempt to appeal to high performers

who might otherwise feel inhibited to perform in an exemplary manner in an

egalitarian culture. Such practices largely have been discredited since the events

in Tiananmen Square in 1989. However, a modern day equivalent can be seen in

Japanese companies in China which send their best workers to Japan in order to

learn from example and from being exposed to a foreign culture (Ireland, 1991).

Through this exposure and emulation there is more willingness to change.

In addition, by building on a sense of belongingness and loyalty of Chinese

workers, there is a good opportunity to develop internalised motivation from

developing corporate identity through a strong organizational culture (see

Child, 1994). Indeed, foreign companies may have a particular kudos for

Chinese workers, and this could be built on to encourage long term loyalty.

Effective supervision would involve doing by example. New patterns of

behaviour (including creativity and innovation) could be encouraged by

emulation, both in the workplace and on training courses in China and, where

appropriate (particularly for managerial and supervisory staff who can act as

role models) abroad. Hence:

Proposition 3: A focus should be placed on building corporate identity

through effective induction and subsequent training programmes in order to




promote “the way we do things around here”, as well as developing

supervisors who can act as role models in developing and changing workrelated

behaviour towards that supported by the corporate culture.

Intrinsic motivation (the intrinsic attractiveness of the job)

In a study of six Chinese enterprises in 1985 and again in 1990, Child (1994)

found that employees were satisfied with the intrinsic job content and

challenge, and opportunities to enjoy social relationships in the workplace.

However, there was dissatisfaction with the prospects for advancement and

promotion. This led him to conclude that enterprises could unleash a

considerable motivational potential by creating opportunities for employees to

advance. This bears out the known historical problems of hierarchy and

advancement which we have discussed above. If we take the total employment

experience of Chinese employees, and examine how we might develop the

attractiveness of this, it could well be in the formulation of a career path for

those who have successfully taken on board those work behaviours which are

seen as appropriate to the organisational culture, and who themselves can act

as role models in supervisory and management positions. Hence:

Proposition 4: In order to develop loyalty, identity with the organisation,

requisite work related behaviour and intrinsic motivation for the total

employment experience, a clear career path should be visible for employees

who can develop effectively as future role models.

We now turn to the practices operated by foreign MNCs in China, to see how

they try to motivate Chinese employees, and then to evaluate these practices

against their apparent successes or failures.

How do foreign enterprises motivate Chinese workers?

Following the above discussion on the appropriateness of motivational

practices with Chinese workers, what do foreign companies in China actually

do? An in-depth survey of motivational policies and methods used in 13

international enterprises in China (see Table I) was carried out by the second

author in Beijing, by interviewing key managers who were most directly

involved in the formulation of motivation policies and their implementation

(principally human resource managers, chief executives and production

managers as appropriate to the enterprise), both foreign and PRC Chinese.

These key managers, who had been subjected to Western practices, had some

familiarity with data collection methods and interview techniques and were

familiar with the management of indigenous Chinese employees. They were

seen as the best source of information.

First order data collection from Chinese workers and management was felt

not to be suitable. Shenkar and Glinow's (1994) review of the literature provides

almost insurmountable methodological problems, which the current authors

felt were beyond the scope of this study to address. These include for

questionnaires: unfamiliarity; a tendency to complete mid-range values; failure


companies and

Chinese workers


to distinguish among variables and the production of halo effects far more likely

than for Western respondents; problems with answering hypothetical

questions; using the group rather than self as the frame of references; and

reporting a desired rather than an actual state. For interviews problems include:

reserving the most important points to the end; and “face” introducing

distortions (see also Adler et al., 1989; Bond and Hwang, 1986; Metzger, 1977;

Young, 1982).

Managers were asked to describe the type of motivational techniques and

methods they actually employed, and the rationale for doing so. In order to

avoid a direct examination of methods company by company, we have

generalized the results from the 13 companies as far as possible, and have

pointed out exceptions where appropriate. We have subsequently classified

their responses in terms of the modified Katz and Kahn (1978 ) model outlined

above, as follows.

Rule enforcement

We first look at role allocation and performance by looking at the way

responsibility is given and the way performance is directed through goal

Nationality of

Company Type of organization parent company Sector

ABB Joint venture Swiss/Swedish Electrical engineering and


AEG Representative office German Electro-electronics

Beijing Toronto Hotel Joint venture Chinese Hotel

Coopers & Lybrand Joint venture American Auditing

EAC Representative office Danish (LOTS) graphics divisions

ICI Foreign company British Chemicals

Jardine Matheson- Joint venture Hong Kong Building services

E-Jian Technical

Services Co. Ltd

Jianguo Hotel Joint venture American Hotel

Jing Guang Centre Joint venture Hotel

Maersk (China) Foreign company Danish Shipping

Shipping Co. Ltd

(A.P. Moller Group)

Northern Telecom Foreign company Canadian Telecommunications

Novo Nordisk Foreign company Danish Pharmaceuticals/


Price Waterhouse Joint venture American Auditing/taxation/


Table I.

Companies surveyed

in Beijing




setting and appraisal, and then enforcement through sanctions for nonperformance,

and reinforcement through praise.

Responsibility. Generally there is a guarded attitude towards giving too much

responsibility on the available evidence that workers like guidance and there is

some fear of making mistakes resulting in inaction. Particularly older workers

prefer clear instructions, although it was noted that many younger workers also

prefer such an approach. Motivation is also seen as rising when more

responsibility is given to employees in their own area. However, this is seen to

come with experience, where, depending on the individual, more responsibility

may be given. There is little evidence of precise job descriptions being used, and

instructions seem to relate to the job at hand. General rules of conduct exist in

some companies, and in one company these are made clear in a two-day

induction session: no spitting, no smoking, how to dress and cut your hair (an

in-house hairdresser is employed).

Goal setting and appraisal. Several companies use goal setting extensively,

and see it as useful. This involves the setting of individual targets, face-to-face

performance discussions, and weekly to annual appraisals, depending on the


Pressure and punishment. Direct punishment was only found in the hotel

sector where some of the companies punish their staff for bad behaviour and

not working. Deductions from salary or bonuses are seen to give positive

results. For some offences up to three warnings can be given before dismissal.

Penalty schemes for non-attendance at training sessions are also in operation.

The use of pressure and punishment of this kind was not identified in

companies outside the hotel industry.

Praise. Companies seem not to praise their employees very often. Individual

praise in front of the group is not often used deliberately except in the hotel

industry. A view elsewhere is that this may be negative or embarrassing.

External rewards

Incentives within the companies surveyed involve packages which include to a

greater or lesser extent, money, bonus systems, and welfare benefits.

Money. Generally money is seen as important for recruiting and retaining

employees, but not as a real motivator. It is seen as a hygiene factor in that it

keeps staff in the company.

Bonus systems. By law, a large part of an employee's salary comprises

bonuses and subsidies. This overlaps to a certain extent with the welfare

package. Despite this, one company pays a fixed salary only. Some companies

offer performance-related bonuses. One company has established smaller units

or profit centres where performance measurement is undertaken monthly, and

on which basis a bonus is paid to employees within the profit centre, with an

element of the bonus reflecting also the performance of the company as a whole.

Generally, it is seen that bonuses relating to individual performance would

improve motivation, but this is not widespread.


companies and

Chinese workers


Welfare package. This is seen as necessary but is not believed to motivate.

The provision of housing in state companies causes problems when foreign

companies do not provide housing. By moving to a foreign company, employees

lose their house. There is therefore pressure on foreign companies to provide

housing or an associated benefit. Company provision of local housing also may

cut down on commuting time, which may benefit productivity. Some companies

provide housing loans. For example, one company provided a ten-year tax free

loan to key staff who had been in the company for at least five years. This type

of provision is not seen as so important for younger employees living with

parents. As Chinese workers give up benefits when they move to a foreign

company, this has implications for recruitment.

Internalised motivation

There is evidence that some efforts are being made by foreign companies to

engender corporate loyalty and belongingness through internalising factors of

motivation, which combine elements of example setting, training, and social

building initiatives. However, the evidence that companies are deliberately

attempting to foster identification with the company is not overwhelming.

Identification with company. Managers from at least two companies thought

that working for a foreign joint venture or Fortune 500 company engendered

pride in its employees. One company has a desire to promote a company culture

without being specific about how they should do this, although the training

aspects described below can be seen to contribute to corporate identity. One

company also involves employees more by use of a suggestion box, a

communication letter which did not last very long due to turnover and lack of

resources, service campaigns, honesty campaigns, a smiling campaign, and

badges and certificates for best workers.

Training. Most companies report some form of training as part of their

motivational programme. Examples include lunch-time learning where the

company buys lunch while courses in computing, languages or technology may

be conducted. On-the-job training for one company takes place in China, while

their top engineers are sent to Europe for one month a year to attend special

courses. One company has set up a (transient) business school in China based at

local hotels for a few days at a time, with a view to setting up a permanent

classroom in the near future.

This type of activity is seen as enhancing the “Western spirit”, providing

better qualifications and chances of promotion, and in some cases a chance of

going abroad to train. There is also a danger of losing employees when they go

abroad, and one company has adopted the practice of sending only married men

abroad, to try to ensure that they return home. Other companies use the

incentive of promotion on their return home. However, one hotel reported

having to compel staff to attend training courses. When forced to participate,

employees argue that they prefer to learn the handouts by heart, although the

purpose might be to teach them to work in unforeseen circumstances.

Punishment is given for non-attendance at training courses in this instance.




Setting a good example. It is generally seen as important that the supervisor

or manager should set a good example to employees, although this is not

viewed particularly as a general policy. It is seen more importantly as

motivating employees to do the job, as often when the boss is away employees

are reluctant to work.

Staff outings and activities. Several companies regard staff outings as

motivators. Some companies encourage employees to organise these

themselves, others have an impressive list of company organised activities,

including sports, dancing, birthday parties, annual staff parties, events with

relatives, and seminars.

Intrinsic motivation

We use the term intrinsic motivation widely here to refer to the total

employment experience. Under this heading the job itself, including working

conditions, job design and social aspects of work, as well as career, can be

identified as providing some degree of intrinsic motivation from the sample of

companies examined.

Working conditions. There are some differences of opinion regarding the

importance of working conditions. Generally Chinese workers are used to a

lower standard from state owned companies and tend to have low expectations.

Therefore air conditioning, for example, is believed by one company not to be

overly important. In another company, employees in the hot summer prefer to

stay in the cool office rather than to go home. So environmental factors are likely

to serve as an added bonus if available. There is also a view that Chinese

employees expect a European working environment if working for a European

company, and therefore expectations are generally high. In this vein, the

availability of computers is used in one company to feed the perception by

Chinese workers of computers as a status symbol. This may also be seen as a

mechanism to enhance identification with a foreign company.

Job rotation and enrichment. Lip service seems to be paid to job rotation and

enrichment schemes, as there is little evidence of these being used, or when used

being particularly effective. When managers were probed, one mentioned the

possibility of sending a secretary from Beijing to work in Shanghai. In another

company the human resource department recommends job rotation for its

Chinese workforce. However, supervisors and managers around the company

have resisted implementing such a scheme.

Social l ife at work. This aspect was not spontaneously mentioned by

interviewed managers. One said that he spends longer talking to workers

(including small talk) than in the West. He also spends more time with his local

staff on social events outside normal working hours (such social events and

activities have been discussed above under internalised motivation, and overlap

with this aspect). There does not seem to be any mechanism used to encourage

and foster the social dimension of work at the workplace, and this aspect seems

to be left to extra mural activities.

Promotion and career in company. Rapid promotion through an extensive

staff ranking system is seen in one company as a very important motivational


companies and

Chinese workers


mechanism. As the company is successful in China, it can offer more

opportunities with the growth of the company. All other companies were silent

on the positive use of career planning and promotion as a motivational tool.

How successful are Western motivational techniques in China?

We now address the question of whether or not the motivational techniques

used by foreign MNCs and joint ventures in China have the desired effects of

motivating Chinese employees. We know that there are problems generally of

productivity and retention of staff, as we noted above. Especially, some of the

companies sampled report high turnover rates, and a lack of flexibility in their

financial resources to be able to introduce some of the measures they would like.

One of the high performers in China has a well developed career planning and

promotion policy as we saw, and this seems to have positive repercussions for

its ongoing success. We are largely unable to compare directly financial success

with the use of specific motivational techniques. This is simply because

financial information is not readily available, and because of the methodological

difficulties in establishing a connection between these variables in the presence

of so many other contributing factors. We therefore evaluate motivational

policies both in terms of the companies' own admissions of success or failure in

the area of human resource management, and against the four propositions

regarding good practice which we outlined above.

Rule enforcement

We first proposed (Proposition 1) that companies should structure work

parameters tightly within a well communicated statement which seeks to

protect the employee within the role defined. Information coming from the

sample companies suggests that this is not happening. Rule enforcement relates

more to instructions for individual tasks, some goal setting, and the use of

punishment and praise in at least one sector. Companies report a reluctance of

employees to take on responsibility or to show initiative, and to be involved in

participative decision making. They also report a need to closely supervise staff

in order for them to work effectively (which may also be indicative of other

problems). It would seem that the issues associated with rule enforcement and

role protection is not therefore being directly addressed.

External rewards

Proposition 2 suggests that a system of pay should retain a reward for loyalty and

seniority as well as a “belongingness” element such as housing allowances. Yet

companies are reporting problems associated with a lack of an effective reward

systems, such as staff turnover (often directly identified with pay) a lack of

productivity (sometimes associated with housing problems) and a general lack of

loyalty to the company through job hopping to get more pay. We saw above that

motivational practices in companies centre on pay as a hygiene or holding factor

and concentrate on a fixed salary plus some element of performance bonus, and

reluctantly welfare provision such as benefits for housing. This does not seem to

be seen as a motivational pushing influence or incentive.




Internalised motivation

In our Proposition 3 we suggest that corporate identity should be inculcated by

effective induction and training programmes, and the development of supervisors

as role models. We noted above that companies in our sample were keen to

promote a company culture, but this was only generally addressed through

training, and to a certain extent through organising out-of-work social activities.

We have already indicated that companies identify a problem of a lack of loyalty

and subsequent turnover, and it may be that companies are not doing enough in

this area. One company even reports that employees have to be made to go to

training sessions. This may be that the training is viewed as irrelevant, or that it

does not have an effect of inculcating corporate identity. The other side of the coin

is that training may be effective in developing transferable skills (companies

report a lack of experience and relevant skills among recruits, particularly when

they come from the public sector). This can only add to employees' subsequent

attraction to other foreign companies after a couple of years' experience and

training in one foreign company, and may result in job-hopping.

Intrinsic motivation

Our final Proposition, 4, suggests that a clear career path should be identifiable

for employees in order to encourage them to develop as future role models and

to instil intrinsic motivation for the total employment experience. Yet only one

company really took career development seriously, and this was one of the most

successful companies in our sample. Other companies identified a lack of

resources in order to accomplish this. Other indicators of a lack of intrinsic

motivation reported by companies were absenteeism, particularly at busy times

and false expectations of a European working environment and attractiveness

of the job, causing employees to become bored and disillusioned.

To summarise, the problems of motivation and performance identified by

companies include high levels of turnover, absenteeism, lack of productivity

and a reluctance to take on responsibility and make decisions without guidance.

These seem to be ongoing issues which must reflect on the efficacy of current

organisational policies on motivating Chinese employees.