Essays on Motivation in Different Cultural Contexts Literature review

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The paper “ Motivation in Different Cultural Contexts” is a great variant of the literature review on human resources. The paper is a critical evaluation of the statement “ The key drivers of employee motivation are similar across different cultural contexts” discussing the arguments for and against the statement. Several theories and models have attempted to define motivation. Motivation is defined as the driving force within individuals by which they attempt to achieve some goal in order to fulfill some need or expectation. It is that internal force that directs, energizes, and sustains employee behavior in the place of work. Competitive organizations need employees that collectively work together with the main aim of achieving the organization’ s goals and objectives rather than leaving it just for the top management.

According to Sirota and Greenwood, (1971), motivating all level employees to work and produce results is a difficult task especially when dealing with a diverse set of people from different cultures. Motivation is the central force that causes an employee to act in a given manner. It initiates, drives, and sustains goal-oriented behavior. The motivational driving force can either be emotional, biological, social, or personal in nature. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, culture refers to the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular person or society.

Culture refers to a particular group that is distinct from others. The group is a community that needs not be a country only but rather includes professional groups, religious groups, corporate groups, or even ethnic groups. (Brislin, 1977).   A global working environment needs to effectively motivate employees from diverse cultural backgrounds, this is achievable if adequate information is acquired by organizational managers.

This paper has looked at Hofstede’ s four dimensions theory among other theories of motivation in order to critically evaluate and present concluding remarks on motivation drivers across cultural settings. Hofstede's research presented four dimensions which include Individualism/Collectivism, Uncertainty Avoidance, Power Distance, and Masculinity/Femininity theories.


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Brislin, R. W. 1993. Understanding culture's influence on behavior. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. 1985. Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum Press.

Hofstede, G. 1991, Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, McGraw-Hill, London, U.K.

Hundley, G. and Kim, J. (1997), "National culture a nd the factors affecting perceptions of pay fairness s in Korea and the United States", The International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 5, pp. 325-341.

Luthans, Fred. 2005. Organizational Behaviour (Tenth Edition). United States: McGraw Hill Irwin

Maslow, A. H. 1943, A theory of human motivation, Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 50, pp. 370-396.

Miller, W. R. & Rollnick, S. 2002. (Eds.). Motivational interviewing (2nd ed.) New York: Guilford Press.

Milyavskaya, M. & Koestner, R. 2011. Psychological needs, motivation, and well-being: A test of self-determination theory across multiple domains. Personality and Individual Differences, 50(3), 387-391.

Peterson, B. 2004. Cultural intelligence: A guide to working with people from other cultures. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. 2000. The darker and brighter sides of human existence: Basic psychological needs as a unifying concept. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 319-338.

Sirota, D. and Greenwood, M. J. 1971, Understanding your overseas work force, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 49, pp. 53-60.

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