ArticlesLeadership, competitiveness and best practices on business management

Management Tips


Management TipsPractical tools to enhance management and leadership skills

Education Resources


Education ResourcesNews, corporate training and business education resources

By The Numbers

Workplace Survey, Findings

1.Workers are struggling to work effectively. 

When focus is compromised in pursuit of Collaboration, neither works well.

2. Effective workplaces balance focus and collaboration. 

Workplaces designed to enable collaboration without sacrificing employees’ ability to focus are more successful.

3. Choice drives performance and innovation. 

Employers who provide a spectrum of choices for when and where to work are seen as more innovative and have higher-performing employees.


Newsletter Subscriber

Anti-Spam Test: 2+3=


Multicultural_TeamManagers have many opportunities to affect the motivation of those who work with and for them but they need to understand and recognize the importance of some of the main principles involved in the motivational process

Although motivation in the work setting is sometimes overlooked, understanding motivation is crucial to recognize the powerful influence the situational context has on motivated behaviour. Authors agree that no motivation strategy can be complete without considering how people’s values and fundamental attitudes toward work. These values and attitudes are especially sensitive to cultural differences. Thus, to understand motivational issues in a culturally diverse workforce, manager need to pay attention to both their people’s cultural values and the fundamental attitudes toward work.



1.Values. Cultural values affect what kind of behaviours individuals will find rewarding and satisfying. Different cultures put weight on particular values. In fact, values can influence individual goals and intentions. They also affect what kind of behaviours individuals will find rewarding and satisfying. While some cultures emphasize competition, risk-taking and freedom, others are more interested in the group harmony and the sense of belonging. Even others put more value in reputation, family security and social recognition. Accordingly, the desirability of different rewards would be quite different across these cultures. In other words, managers supervising employees from different cultures would need to carefully consider the types of rewards to offer for high levels of performance.


A research  compared the preferences of  Asian and American student for allocating rewards to members of work groups according to 1) “equality” (every member gets an equal share of rewards) or 2) according “equity” (members are rewarded in proportion  to their individual contributions). The findings showed that although American students generally preferred equity as the basis of reward, students from Asian background tended to put relatively more emphasis on equality than did the Americans. This is in line with the hypothesis that those who are raised in a culture that values collectivism will be influenced when put into a work situation.


They will be more likely, than raised in an individualistic culture, to consider the needs of everyone in the group, even if this means deviating somewhat from the generally preferred equity reward allocation. This research also showed that while Asian students had a greater tendency to use equality as a basis for allocating rewards to in-group members, they did not necessarily extend this tendency to members of out-groups. Thus Asian students were apparently distinguishing clearly between those two types of groups.


2.Attitudes. Understanding how different groups or cultures view the meaning of work, that is, how much the activity of working is valued, help managers to gain additional insight into motivational differences across cultures. One research study that was carried out on a sample of some 4,500 “knowledge workers and managers” from companies that have major operations in North America, Europe and Asia demonstrates that there are differences by age, gender and region.


Factors such as “career advancement” and “professional career development” were rated more important by younger versus older employees. Women, at early stages of their careers, put more emphasis on job security and less on financial rewards, compared to men. At later stages, women put more importance or career advancement and professional development that did men in the sample. The major difference by region involved “international opportunities (for career advancement). Asian and Europeans viewed these opportunities as more important than did Americans.


What are the motivational and managerial implications of these research findings? A major one is that they show that because work does not generate the same relative degree of importance among employees, managers face different challenges when it comes to motivate employees with different background or employees in different cultural context. As a result, specific incentives –such as pay raises, time off, or opportunities for career advancement- will not have the same motivational effect on all people in all situations. The message is that managers working with a diverse workforce cannot assume that everyone will value work and different elements of work in the same way. Sensitivity to these differences, therefore, can be highly useful in addressing motivational issues and problems.


The values and attitudes employees bring to the work situation strongly influence their motivation.  Values vary across different categories of employees (younger versus older) and, especially, across different cultures. Likewise, individual’s attitudes toward the importance of work in general can affect their reaction to various motivational attempts by their managers. The implication for anyone in a managerial role is that particular incentives that work quite well for some employees or some groups might not motivate others.