Manager Theory of Subordinate

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Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 93 (2004) 47–61

ManagersÕ theories of subordinates: A cross-cultural examination

of manager perceptions of motivation and appraisal of performanceq

Sanford E. DeVoe and Sheena S. Iyengar*

Columbia Business School, 3022 Broadway, Uris Hall, Rm 714, New York, NY 10027-6902, USA


The present study sought to examine the relationship between managersÕ 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. Three distinct cultural patterns emerged in the theories managersÕ 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.

Ó 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Culture; Extrinsic/intrinsic motivation; Holism; Performance appraisal; Person...