Summarize the major findings of the Meaning of Work Study. What are some implications for motivation in different cultures?

P. 689, 690, 695 in text.

Meaning of Work study and the more current WVS/EVS study give us a good beginning picture of how work values differ in national contexts. They suggest the following conclusions:
  • Work is very central in some societies and absorb much of a person's life. In many industrialized nations that have traditionally seen high work centrality, people may be changing their views of work. In contrast, less developed societies may have a workforce that places significant importance on the role of work in their lives.
  • All people hope to receive certain benefits from work. Benefits people hope to get vary by national context.
  • Societies differ in degree they regard work as an obligation.
  • Many emerging economies that value extrinsic work values also place high value on intrinsic work values.
  • First key to successful motivational strategies in multinational companies is understanding differences among countries in the functions of work, work centrality, and the priorities given to different job characteristics.

Work centrality = overall value of work in a person's life. Japan scored highest. Britain lower in comparison.

Cullen and Parboteeah found that the following 5 social institutions have negative effects on work centrality.
  • Extent of socialism
  • Degree of industrialization
  • Degree of union strength
  • Accessibility of Education
  • Extent of social inequality

Cultural dimension effects on work centrality include:
  • Uncertainty avoidance and masculinity had negative effect
  • Individualism had positive effect
Traditional attachment to work typical of most industrialized societies may be changing.

Higher levels of work centrality closely related with average number of hours worked per week in the country.

Work obligation norms = degree to which work is seen as an obligation or duty to society. Turkey scored highest. Netherlands lowest.

What do people value in work?

Extrinsic work values = preference for security aspects of jobs such as income and job security. S. Korea scored highest. Latvia lowest

Intrinsic work values = preference for openness to change job aspects such as autonomy, being able to take initiative and be creative. Turkey scored highest. Latvia lowest.

Implications for motivation in different cultures:

Application of motivation theories in different cultural context become complicated since people from different nations expect different rewards from work. The national context helps define what behaviors at work provide legitimate ways to satisfy needs, and influences reactions to goal-directed behaviors at work.