are motivation theories culture bound?
From Pakistan, Rawalpindi

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Yes ofcourse. Culture is part of onwe's set of beliefs and values. Japanese do every job in the name of their country. Westerners are more truistic and pragmatic. Therefore, any motivation theory should take care of these cultural traints and analyse.
From India, Hyderabad
Motivation Theories are Culture Bound
•Note that most theories were developed in the US. While there may be many differences across cultures, there are some cross-cultural consistencies (i.e. facets of the the two factor theory

From India, Indore
What is Motivation?
Motivation = “The processes that account for an individual’s intensity, direction, and persistence of effort toward achieving a goal”
• Intensity = how hard an employee tries
• Direction = should benefit the organization (i.e. quality of effort counts!)
• Persistence = how long can an employee maintain his/her effort?
• Note: the goal is an “organizational” goal
Some Key Points: Motivation is not directly observable (it is internal to each employee), it is personal (what is arousing differs and how behavior is directed is often different), however the process is common and it is goal directed

From India, Indore

Please find the theories below.

Early Theories of Motivation

Hierarchy of Needs (a.k.a. Maslow's Pyramid)


includes hunger, thirst, shelter, sex and other bodily needs


includes security and protection from physical and emotional harm


includes affection, belongingness acceptance, and friendship


includes internal esteem factors such as self-respect, autonomy, and achievement; and external esteem factors such as status, recognition, and attention


the drive to become what one is capable of becoming; includes growth, achieving one’s potential, and self-fulfillment

Note: An individual moves “up the steps” of the hierarchy. “Lower order” needs are satisfied externally (i.e. physiological and safety) while “higher order” needs are satisfied internally (i.e. social, esteem, and self-actualization).

Theory X and Theory Y

Douglas McGregor proposed two distinct views of human beings: one basically

negative, labeled Theory X, and the other basically positive, labeled Theory Y.

Theory X

The assumption that employees dislike work, are lazy, dislike responsibility, and must be coerced to perform. (Lower order needs dominate)

Theory Y

The assumption that employees like work, are creative, seek responsibility, and can exercise self-direction. (Higher order needs dominate)

McGregor believed Theory Y (“higher order” needs per Maslow) assumptions were more valid than Theory X (“lower order” needs per Maslow) and proposed such ideas as participative decision making, responsible and challenging jobs, and good group relations as approaches that would maximize an employee's motivation.

**Question = what type of manager will you be (or are you)? One who believes in Theory X or Theory Y? Be honest!

Two-Factor Theory

•Intrinsic factors are related to job satisfaction, while extrinsic factors are related to job dissatisfaction.

•Hygiene factors = when these are adequate, workers “feel OK” (i.e. they are NOT dissatisfied). Examples include quality of supervision, company policies and administration.

•Motivators = examines factors contributing to job satisfaction. Thus there are factors which lead to job satisfaction and things that don’t (i.e. notice there is a difference between “non-satisfying” and “dissatisfying factors”)

From India, Indore
Contemporary Theories

Alderfer's ERG Theory




This theory does not assume a rigid hierarchy like Maslow's. For example, all 3 of these could be operating at the same time.

McClelland's Theory of Needs

The Need for Achievement: the drive to excel, achieve in relation to a set of standards, strive to succeed.

The Need for Power: The need to make others behave in a way that they would not have behaved otherwise.

The Need for Affiliation: The desire for friendly and close interpersonal relationships.

Question: What can we do with this information? Answer: Match people to jobs!

Those high on "achievement" tend to prefer jobs with personal responsibility, feedback and moderate risks. They DO NOT always care about motivating others!

In general, individuals high on the need for "Power" and low on the need for "Affiliation" tend to perform better in managerial roles.

Cognitive Evaluation Theory

•Allocating extrinsic rewards for behavior that had been previously intrinsically rewarding tends to decrease the overall level of motivation.

From India, Indore
Dear Junjua,

Not all motivation theories are culture bound.

Motivation refers to the state within an organism that impels it to behave in a particular fashion towards some goals.

Motives are generally divided into two categories – 1. Based on primary drives and

2. Based on secondary drives.

Primary motives consist of physiological drives i.e. those drives which stem from internal need or physiological state within in the body and general drives i.e. those drives that are not based on any physiological need but are also not learned.

Secondary motives comprise of social motives and learned fears. These motives are essentially characteristic of only human beings and culture has a role in it.

Many theories have been advanced to explain human motivation but as yet there is little consensus.

For example psychoanalytical theory of Maslow is based on life instincts (Eros) and Death instincts (Thanatos). Again his motivational theory based on hierarchy of needs starts with satisfying biological needs and then only climbs to social needs whereas social learning theory of Bandura sees our behaviors as learned through interaction with, and observation of environment which is culture bound.


Kesava Pillai

From India, Kollam
I don't think so. It is better to call societal bound rather than cultural bound, because a person feels motivation when he was recognized by society.
For example if we take an employee he will be energized when he was recognized by his superior and receive reward or award. that means the society is recognizing his effort which make him happy......
So my dear friend motivation is societal bound in my view.....
Uma Ganesh
Student: Dhruva college of management, hyd.

From India, Hyderabad

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