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Motivation, pay satisfaction, and job satisfaction of front-line employees

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  • Carolyn Stringer
  • Jeni Didham
  • Paul Theivananthampillai
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    Abstract

    Purpose – This paper aims to explore the complex relationships between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, pay satisfaction and job satisfaction at the retailer that uses a pay-for-performance plan for front-line employees. Design/methodology/approach – This paper draws on a single organization case study across seven stores, and uses a survey, archival documents, open-ended questions and researcher interaction with employees and managers. Findings – The results provide some support for the complementary nature of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation was positively associated with pay and job satisfactions, whereas extrinsic motivation was negatively associated with job satisfaction, and not associated with pay satisfaction. The qualitative insights indicate that pay fairness is important, and those who perceived pay was not fair generally made comparisons with others or felt that pay did not reflect their effort. It is also found that the majority of employees perceived that goals were clear. Research limitations/implications – The dominance of extrinsic motivation without including behavioural, social, and psychological factors in agency theory research is questioned. The research finds no support for “crowding out”, but rather finds some evidence of “crowding in” where intrinsic motivation is enhanced, to the detriment of extrinsic motivation. Practical implications – The findings highlight that managers should enhance both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and pay employees well to increase job satisfaction. Originality/value – Few studies examine incentives for front-line employees, and there is evidence that minimum wage employees can have high intrinsic motivation. Perceptions of pay fairness can vary across motivation levels, age, and gender.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management.

    Volume (Year): 8 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 161-179

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:qrampp:v:8:y:2011:i:2:p:161-179

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    Related research

    Keywords: Employees; Incentives (psychology); Intrinsic motivation; Job satisfaction; Motivation (psychology); Pay satisfaction;

    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Frey, Bruno S., 1997. "On the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic work motivation1," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 427-439, July.
    2. Kunz, Alexis H. & Pfaff, Dieter, 2002. "Agency theory, performance evaluation, and the hypothetical construct of intrinsic motivation," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 275-295, April.
    3. Margit Osterloh & Jetta Frost & Bruno Frey, 2002. "The Dynamics of Motivation in New Organizational Forms," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 61-77.
    4. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
    5. Marco Herpen & Mirjam Praag & Kees Cools, 2005. "The Effects of Performance Measurement and Compensation on Motivation: An Empirical Study," De Economist, Springer, vol. 153(3), pages 303-329, 09.
    6. Marginson, David & Ogden, Stuart, 2005. "Coping with ambiguity through the budget: the positive effects of budgetary targets on managers' budgeting behaviours," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 435-456, July.
    7. Merchant, Kenneth A., 1990. "The effects of financial controls on data manipulation and management Myopia," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 297-313.
    8. George Kominis & Clive R. Emmanuel, 2005. "Exploring the reward preferences for middle level managers," Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 2(1), pages 54-76, April.
    9. Merchant, Kenneth A. & Van der Stede, Wim A. & Zheng, Liu, 2003. "Disciplinary constraints on the advancement of knowledge: the case of organizational incentive systems," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 28(2-3), pages 251-286.
    10. Gerhart, B. & Milkovick, G.T., 1992. "Employee Compensation: Research and Practice," Papers 92-26, Cornell - Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.
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