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Motivation Across Cultures

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Motivation is closely related to the performance of human resources in modern organizations. Although the motivation process may be similar across cultures, there are clear differences in motivation that are culturally based. What motivates employees in the United States may be only moderately effective in Japan, France, or Nigeria. Therefore, although motivation in the workplace is related to stimulating and encouraging employee performance in many situations and environments, an international context requires country-by-country, or at least regional, examination of differences in motivation and its sources.

This chapter examines motivation as a psychological process and explores how motivation can be used to understand and improve employee performance. It also identifies and describes internationally researched workmotivation theories and discusses their relevance for international human resource management. The specific objectives of this chapter are:

  1. DEFINE motivation, and explain it as a psychological process.
  2. EXAMINE the hierarchy-of-needs, two-factor, and achievement motivation theories, and assess their value to international human resource management.
  3. DISCUSS how an understanding of employee satisfaction can be useful in human resource management throughout the world.
  4. EXAMINE the value of process theories in motivating employees worldwide.
  5. UNDERSTAND the importance of job design, work centrality, and rewards in motivating employees in an international context.

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