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Managers' Theories of Subordinates: A Cross-Cultural Examination of Manager Perceptions of Motivation and Appraisal of Performance

Sanford DeVoe, Sheena Iyengar

Publication type: Journal article

Research Archive Topic: Leadership, Organizations, World Business

Abstract

The present study sought to examine the relationship between managers' perceptions of employee motivation and performance appraisal by surveying managers and employees in three distinct cultural regions (North America, Asia, and Latin America) within a single global organization. Although the patterns of employee self-perceptions did not vary across the six countries sampled, three distinct cultural patterns emerged in the theories managers held about their subordinates. While North American managers perceived their employees as being more extrinsically than intrinsically motivated, perceptions of intrinsic motivation proved to be a more robust predictor of performance appraisal. Asian managers exhibited a holistic tendency in that they perceived their subordinates as equally motivated by intrinsic and extrinsic factors, and their perceptions of both motivations proved to be comparable predictors of performance appraisal. Latin American managers perceived their employees as being more intrinsically than extrinsically motivated, and accordingly, only their perceptions of intrinsic motivation proved to be significantly correlated with performance appraisal. In contrast to the cultural variations exhibited in manager perceptions, employees consistently reported themselves as being more motivated by intrinsic than extrinsic incentives. Explanations for the distinct cultural patterns that emerged and their implications for the study of culture and organizational behavior are discussed.
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Citation

DeVoe, Sanford, and Sheena Iyengar. "Managers' Theories of Subordinates: A Cross-Cultural Examination of Manager Perceptions of Motivation and Appraisal of Performance." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 93, no. 1 (January 2004): 47-61.


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