Values, Culture, and Motivation

Values, Culture, and Motivation

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There exists a strong connection among values, culture, and motivation (Latham, 2011). Every culture has its values. These are ideas shared by members of a particular cultural group. This means that every culture has a unique worldview or a way in which they make sense of the world. These values affect motivation. This means that people from different cultures will have different motivators. According to Iguisi (2009), cultural values affect motivation. Iguisi conducted a study to determine the relationship between cultural values and motivation. The research was conducted in five countries, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Nigeria.

            The study found that cultural values affect motivation in that motivators in one cultural group may not qualify as one in another group. For example, the motivation-related values in Italy include living in a desirable area, good working relationships with superiors, challenging tasks, and freedom to adopt an individual approach to a task. In Nigeria, values that drive motivation include job security, opportunities for higher-level employment opportunities, challenging tasks, and cooperation with others. This suggests that culture and values determine what will motivate members of a certain cultural group.

A case study on Nokia in China, a cross-cultural organization, found that employees from different cultural backgrounds had different motivators influenced by cultural values. For example, employees from the East where relatively higher power distance is valued, respect from superiors and colleagues is a key motivator. Also, East employees whose culture values high uncertainty avoidance are motivated by job security (Qin, 2010). Based on this case study, it is clear that every culture has its values. These values determine motivators. This explains the difference in motivators when it comes to different cultural groups.


Iguisi, O. (2009). Motivation-related values across cultures. African Journal of Business     Management, 3 (4), 141-150.

Latham, G. (2011). Work Motivation: History, Theory, Research, and Practice. SAGE          Publications, Inc.

Qin, L. (2010). Employee motivation in a cross-cultural organisation. Thesis. Arcada            University of Applied Sciences, 1-64.

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