Perceived job characteristics and internal work motivation: an exploratory cross-cultural analysis of the motivational antecedents of hotel workers in Mauritius and Australia

Lee-Ross, Darren (2005) Perceived job characteristics and internal work motivation: an exploratory cross-cultural analysis of the motivational antecedents of hotel workers in Mauritius and Australia. Journal of Management Development, 24 (3). pp. 253-266.

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Purpose–Currently, a gap exists in the area of cross-cultural research in organisations. Moreover, there is a consensus that many models of organisational behaviour have a Western ethnocentric bias. That is, they are unlikely to explain worker behaviour in non-Western firms. The present study aims to test this notion by comparing the attitudes and work motivation between hotel workers in Australia and Mauritius.

Design/methodology/approach–A convenience sample of three 200+ bedroom, five-star resort hotels, two from Mauritius and one from Australia, was identified for this study. All hotels were similar in size and key managerial and operational aspects. Using Hackman and Oldham's Job Diagnostic Survey, quantitative results from 125 respondents show that motivational disparities between hotel workers are likely to be culturally driven.

Findings–These suggest that, while Hackman and Oldham’s model is not wholly appropriate outside a Western culture, it provides a reasonable basis for future research and could be adapted by incorporating previously unaccounted-for non-Western cultural variables.

Research limitations/implications–The main limitation of the study was the convenience sample used. However, findings are consistent with the initial proposition that models of organisational behaviour have a western ethnocentric bias.

Practical implications–In practice, managers should avoid a parochial perspective and canvass for discrete, culturally-based attitudinal information about their workers. For example, an increasingly participative style of management is currently popular in Western organisations. This would be unsuitable for Mauritian workers because autonomy is a “foreign” concept with which they struggle. Moreover, deference appears to be a powerful antecedent of motivation in the workplace irrespective of other model-specified antecedents. Future research would need to explore them and scrutinise their exact relationship with worker motivation. International managers would be well advised to plan their behavioural diagnostics around these two variables.

Originality/value–This paper questions the role of “participative styles” of management among Mauritian hotel workers and the impact of deference as a cultural moderator of employee workplace behaviour. This represents a new area of research and thus has value for researchers and practitioners.

Item ID: 6615
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1758-7492
Keywords: Australia; cross-cultural management; employees; hospitality services; Mauritius; motivation (psychology)
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2010 01:39
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150603 Tourism Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900303 Tourism Infrastructure Development @ 100%
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