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The relative importance of different types of rewards for employee motivation and commitment in South Africa

Keywords: affective commitment , extrinsic monetary rewards , extrinsic non-monetary rewards , intrinsic non-monetary rewards , intrinsic motivation

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Orientation: Employees’ perceptions of rewards are related to their affective commitment and intrinsic motivation, which have been associated with staff turnover.Research purpose: The study sought to establish the relationship between intrinsic and different extrinsic rewards with intrinsic motivation and affective commitment.Motivation for the study: South African organisations are grappling with employee retention. Literature shows that employees who are more motivated and committed to their organisation are less likely to quit. Rewards management strategies serve to create a motivated and committed workforce. Using the correct types of rewards can thus provide a competitive advantage.Research design, approach and method: A cross-sectional, correlational study was conducted. Questionnaire data of 399 South African employees were analysed using bivariate correlations and multiple regression.Main findings: Three main findings emerged. Firstly, there is a relationship between all types of rewards investigated and the two outcome variables. Secondly, this relationship is stronger for intrinsic than for extrinsic rewards and thirdly, monetary rewards do not account for the variance in intrinsic motivation above that of non-monetary rewards.Practical/managerial implications: Rewards management strategies should focus on job characteristics and designs to increase staff intrinsic rewards and include non-monetary rewards, such as supportive leadership, to encourage employees’ intrinsic motivation and affective commitment.Contribution/value-add: This research demonstrated the important role different rewards, particularly intrinsic non-monetary rewards, play in creating a committed and motivated workforce. The insights gained from this study can promote organisational effectiveness. Suggestions of how to expand on and refine the current study are addressed.


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