Cross-Culture Management: Do Cultural Factors Influence Job Motivation?

University essay from Luleå/Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences

Author: Mikael Nilsson; [2012]

Keywords: Cross-culture; Management; Motivation;

Abstract: Being able to retain, attract and motivate employees with different cultural backgrounds is a great challenge for international organizations (Cullen & Parboteeah, 2008) and an understanding of needs, goals, values and expectations in different cultures is essential when working cross-culture; otherwise, what has successfully motivated employees in one culture may be demotivating and cause frustration among employees in other cultures. (Phatak, Bhagat & Kashlak, 2005)
Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner (1998) have identified seven dimensions of culture; Universalism versus Particularism, Individualism versus Communitarianism, Neutral versus Affective, Specific versus Diffuse, Achievement versus Ascription, Attitudes to time, Attitudes to the environment.
Needs theories and process theories are the most commonly used theories when explaining motivation. Content/needs theories explain “what” induces a behavior (Alpander & Carter, 1991) and why people have different needs. (Phatak et al. 2005) While process theories explain “how” different needs induce different behaviors. (ibid)
The degree universalism versus particularism and individualism versus communitarianism is quite similar between Sweden, France and Spain. But the three following dimensions show some differences between the countries. The third dimension identifies Sweden and France as highly specific while Spain is more leaning towards a diffuse-oriented society. Spain is also a more affective culture than both Sweden and France whilst France is highly neutral and Sweden is neither highly affective nor highly neutral. Finally Sweden and France have quite high degrees of achievement orientations while Spain is placing in the middle of achievement and ascription oriented. Furthermore when ranking the motivational factors both Spain and France ranks extrinsic factors among their top four while Sweden ranks all intrinsic factor in their top five.