Equity Sensitivity in Relation to Cultural Factors Term Paper

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¶ … Edit Motivation

Research in Organizational Settings has long demonstrated the impact of cultural factors on work motivation (Maslow). The current study develops a model of cultural factors and work motivation, more specifically equity sensitivity, in a concerted effort to understand worker motivation in the context of multicultural workforce. Past research provides the foundation for the present academic investigation demonstrating the evolution of academic theories supported by ongoing empirical research. The research is designed to demonstrate the impact of a multicultural workforce on the ability of human resource mangers to successfully motivate employees.

This chapter will examine past research and examine the synthesis of the theoretical and empirical research pertaining to the equity sensitivity construct and an actual multicultural organizational setting. The discussion will explain the theoretical model.

The review will also discuss work motivation theories and Cultural factors.

Theoretical Model

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The globalization of the workforces creates an environment in which cultural differences create unique working environments within multicultural organizations. The ability to equitably reward and motivate employees continues to challenge American-based organizations (Henderson 1994). Current research explores the evolution of the workforce both domestically and globally (Chhokar, Zhuplev, Fok, & Hartman, 2001, Hofstede, 2001; Wheeler, 2002). In the fast pace of current business operations organizations are increasingly faced with the challenge of attempting to gain a strategic advantage through employee motivation (Schein, 1996). The expanding global economy has led to an increasing emphasis on understanding cultural values and their impact on human resource management throughout the world.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Equity Sensitivity in Relation to Cultural Factors Assignment

To implement employee motivation strategies properly, firms must understand how employees from various cultures are motivated in the workplace. (Hofstede, 1997; Trompenaars, 1998; Vladimir et al., 1992). Understanding and implementing cost-effective yet successful employee reward programs is critical to organizations attempting to recruit and retain a culturally diverse workforce. Reward systems that are very effective in motivating workers in one culture might be met with hostility, perceptions of inequity and dissatisfaction in an environment with differing cultural values (Wheeler, 2002). This unpredictable response to similar reward systems by employees within the same organization necessitates the need for firms to determine why individuals respond differently to similar rewards.

The globalization of the workforce is not limited to one industry. However certain fields, such as healthcare, have experienced a dramatic increase in culturally diverse employees. One reason for this is shortage of nurses in the domestic workforce and an inability to meet the medical needs of an aging population. This growing demand is creating a dependency upon international workers within American hospitals. It appeasrs that one major challenge that organizations are faced with is the development of reward systems that are perceived to be fair, equitable and distributing the reward in accordance with employee beliefs about their own value to the organization (Ramlall, 2004; Henderson,1994;Fine, 1996).

An equitable reward system has the potential of stabilizing an organization's workforce while improving the organizational commitment of employees.(Lust, 2003; Heneman, 2003)

Research in social psychology and in human and work motivation supports the contention that culture shapes beliefs, values, and perceptions (Henderson,1994;Fine, 1996). Research also suggests that people of different cultures cannot be expected to exhibit similar behavior patterns or react to stimuli similarly in an organizational context (Mueller and Clarke, 1998).

To attain high levels of performance, employers depend on their employees to perform at levels that positively affect the bottom line (Wiley, 1997). Thus, employers must understand what motivates workers in an organizational setting. Rather than attempting to adapt employees to existing reward systems organizations must realize that reward systems need to be adapted to the needs of the individual employee. This information combined with the potential predictability of equity sensitivity is an extremely valuable tool in the recruitment and retention battle in industries facing a shortage of qualified candidates.

Among theories of motivation, equity sensitivity, due to its combination of cultural factors and work motivation is ideal for exploring the context of a multicultural workforce. Previous studies explored this and that, many of these studies specifically dealt with a student population and/or foreign countries as opposed to investigating a multicultural, professional workforce in an American organization (Chen, 1995; Chhokar et al., 2001; Wheeler, 2002). The context of prior research investigations are important due to the influence the environmental settings have on the behaviors of the study's participants. For instance, students may have a different response to certain reward situations becaue they prefer academic rewards rather than economic rewards; on the other hand, an individual in the workforce setting has a different set of goals and thus responds differently as compared to a student. Figure 1 is a proposed model of this potential investigation.

Figure 1. Proposed Model

Work Motivation

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs major theorist in the area of motivation was Abraham Maslow, he contended that human being possessed a hierarchy of needs; within this hierarchy, there are five groups of needs that must be met. (Maslow 1943) the most primitive needs are physical -- food, water, shelter etc. The next set of needs deal with the safety of an organisms surroundings -- people have a need to be free from inherent danger. Maslow also contends that people have a need for love and attention. (Maslow 1943) in addition, Maslow asserts that living things have socialized needs. Last in the hierarchy is the need for self-actualization (Byrne and Lindgren, 1971).

Maslow explains that the motivation of human beings is dependent upon the fulfillment of these five needs. This hierarchy is the foundation of most motivation theories. While the first four needs deal with biological and social issues (Byrne and Lindgren, 1971), the last need for self-actualization is used most often in developing reward systems for employees.

Goal Setting

Edwin Locke has also been a preeminent theorist in the area of motivation as it pertains to the workplace and educational environments. Locke's theory of motivation asserts that goal setting plays a large role in worker motivation. Early goal setting theories contend that "Goal setting theory is based on the premise that much human action is purposeful, in that it is directed by conscious goals."(Drillings and O'neil, 1994) Locke's theory asserts that because human beings have the ability to reason, they have the ability to set goals and pursue long-range purposes. (Locke and Latham1990)

Team Motivation

Lawler asserts that motivation can change when individuals are place in a team setting. Acoording to Lawler a definition of a team is a "a distinguishable set of two or more people who interact, dynamically, interdependently, and adaptively toward a common and valued goal/objective/mission; each of whom has been assigned specific roles or functions to perform, and who have a limited life-span membership"(Salas et al. 1992). Lawler contends that team motivation consists of team spirit, interpersonal skills, leadership and communication. Knowledge of what motivates teams is essential to human resource manage because many organizations rely on teamwork to get organizational goals met. According to Katz and Kahn (1978), three main factors motivate teams. These factors include; external rewards, rule enforcement and internalized motivation (Katz and Kahn 1978).

Intrinsic/Extrinsic Motivation

Many theories make predictions about individual motivation to perform in organizations (Harder, 1992). The unique difference in individuals continues to make the motivation of employees an ongoing challenge for theorist and organizations dealing with worker motivation theories. These theories have been predominately divided into two broad classes, which are intrinsic and extrinsic motivational theories. A person is intrinsically motivated if he/she performs an activity for no apparent reward except the activity itself (Turnage and Muchinsky, 1976). Extrinsic motivation refers to the performance of an activity because it leads to an external reward. The equity sensitivity construct is derived from the original equity theory (Intrinsic) and is utilized due to its predictive nature. This construct provides additional clarity to equity theory allowing it to function as a substantive tool for organizations and human resource executives. In addition, the equity sensitivity construct provides insight into the various responses of individuals in similar reward systems.

Equity Theory

Equity theory is the foundation for numerous empirical studies (Adams, 1963, 1965; Barr & Conlon, 1994; Carrell & Dittrich, 1978; Chhokar et al., 2001; King, Miles, & Day, 1993; King & Miles, 1994; Lane & Messe, 1971; Messe, Dawson, & Lane, 1973; Miles, Hatfield, & Huseman, 1994). Equity theory has been broadly researched (Barr & Conlon, 1994; Carrell & Dittrich, 1978; Chhokar et al., 2001; King, Miles, & Day, 1993; King & Miles, 1994; Lane & Messe, 1971; Messe, Dawson, & Lane, 1973; Miles, Hatfield, & Huseman, 1994). Weick (1966) labels it as being "among the most useful middle-range theories of organizational behavior."

Comprehensive reviews of this theory (Major & Deaux, 1982; Miner, 1980; Mowday, 1991) and other writings concerning the path of equity theory acknowledge the lack of a conceptual framework for individual differences in equity theory prediction. In addition, it suggests the incorporation of individual differences into the equity theory formulation (Miles, Hatfield, & Huseman, 1994). Additionally, the original version of equity theory had issues when removed from the laboratory and conducted in a… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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