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Why Do People Work if They Are Not Paid? An Example from Eastern Europe


  • Irina l. Zinovieva


The phenomenon of non-paid work on a massive scale is discussed. Research is done in a textile firm in Eastern Europe, which withheld payment for the performed work for more than a half a year. The following questions were studied: (a) what are the perceptions of work and work results in this highly unusual situation, (b) what kind of other incentives are available to substitute for lack of payment, (c) how do people explain their behavior under such circumstances. Results show that lack of payment is not a barrier for a high level of effort spent in work, relatively good performance, and organizational commitment. The reasons lye mainly in a high level of need for sense, i.e. tendency to search for the meaning of one's actions and the meaning of life, as well as in perceptions of the work situation as opportunities to satisfy higher order (Maslow type of) needs (self-actualization, esteem from others, and belongingness).

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  • Irina l. Zinovieva, 1998. "Why Do People Work if They Are Not Paid? An Example from Eastern Europe," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 206, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:1998-206

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    1. Jaideep Anand & Andrew Delios, 1997. "Location Specificity and the Transferability of Downstream Assets to Foreign Subsidiaries," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 28(3), pages 579-603, September.
    2. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1962. "The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 155-173.
    3. Beamish, Paul W. & Inkpen, Andrew C., 1998. "Japanese firms and the decline of the Japanese expatriate," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 35-50.
    4. Harrison, Ann, 1994. "Multinationals in economic development: the benefits of FDI," MPRA Paper 36270, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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