Original Research

A comparison of South African and German extrinsic and intrinsic motivation

Robin Snelgar, Stacy A. Shelton, Anne Giesser
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 20, No 1 | a1552 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v20i1.1552 | © 2017 Robin Snelgar, Stacy A. Shelton, Anne Giesser | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 March 2016 | Published: 26 April 2017

About the author(s)

Robin Snelgar, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
Stacy A. Shelton, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
Anne Giesser, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Various researchers have identified a trend of individuals shifting their preference from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation. The authors aimed to research this phenomenon specifically within the context of two different cultures as to date, this had not been done. This research explored the differing levels of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation in Germans and South Africans.

Aim: The main objective of this study was to investigate similarities and differences concerning extrinsic and intrinsic motivation in the workplace between German and South African cultures by examining individuals with working experience and tertiary education specifically. In addition, the research investigated differences in the motivation of respondents with regard to demographics such as gender, age and income.

Setting: The setting took place in South Africa and Germany.

Methods: In the study, exploratory factor analysis was utilised to prove validity of Cinar, Bektas and Aslan’s two-dimensional measure of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Moreover, analysis of variance and t-tests were used to show differences among demographic variables. Descriptive statistics such as means, central tendency and Cronbach’s alpha were also utilised.

Results: The results revealed preferences for intrinsic motivational factors for the whole sample with higher levels of intrinsic motivation for the South African respondents compared to German respondents. Demographic characteristics played a minor role in determining levels of intrinsic motivation within individuals. Culture, however, played the biggest role in determining one’s levels of intrinsic or extrinsic motivation.

Conclusion: These findings play an important role in explaining differences in motivation between the two countries Germany and South Africa. It highlights the important role that cultural differences play in shaping one’s form of motivation.


Keywords

intrinsic motivation; motivation; Germany; South Africa; cultural differences

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