Updated: Aug 28
Numerous studies show that there are minimal differences between the variables which motivate female and male employees. Ebrahimi (1999) studied gender differences in managerial motivation. The theoretical framework of managerial motivation is comprised of six constructs: 1) favorable attitudes towards superiors; 2) desire to compete; 3) desire to assert oneself; 4) desire to exercise power; 5) desire to be distinct and different; and 6) the desire to perform routine administrative duties responsibly (Ebrahimi, 1999). Three previous studies also studied the relationship between gender and managerial motivation, and found no differences: Ebrahimi & Miner (1991), Chen et al (1997), and Ebrahimi (1997). The Ebrahimi (1999) study also found that there were no statistically significant differences. Ebrahimi (1999) stated, “After 1980, no differences were found in USA studies comparing gender and managerial motivation: Miner (1993), Miner & Smith (1982), and Miner et al (1985)”.
DeHart- Davis (2006) hypothesized her study would find that female managers would show a significant difference in the compassion motive, in comparison to male counterparts. This finding did prove to be true, but female managers also scored higher on the attraction to policy making construct, than their male counterparts. Policy making is seen as a masculine construct (DeHart- Davis, 2006).
Based on the research, this researcher postulates that intrinsic and extrinsic motives may play a greater role in employee motivation, in comparison to gender differences. Syed (2007) postulates that there are other significant factors which effect employee motivation. Intrinsic motivation, which comes from within one’s self, motivates one to strive for accomplishment and self- actualization. Extrinsic motivation or external reinforcement, usually in the form of monetary incentives, also motivates employees toward accomplishing organizational goals (Syed, 2007). Manolopoulos (2008), citing the work of Mowday et al (1982), states that, “female employees place more importance on intrinsic rewards”. However, in his own research, Manolopoulos (2008) found that female employees in the public sector were also significantly extrinsically motivated as well.
When organizational motivational strategies are designed along gender lines, employees can view these strategies are discriminatory and unethical. This behavior exposes organizations to immense potential legal liabilities, “particularly under human resources law, and generally accepted norms for professional workplace conduct,” (Houts, 2010). Based on the research, this researcher postulates that it would be wise for organizational leaders not to design motivational strategies along gender lines.
Ueda (2012) postulates that creating an organizational culture focused on work- life balance (WLB) would positively motivate all employees. WLB programs focuses on “employees adequately distributing their physical and psychological energy to the areas of both work and life,” (Ueda, 2012). Ueda (2012) states that, “this focus reduces behavioral and psychological burdens on employees, decreases stress resulting from work- family conflict, and fosters feelings of happiness”. In his research, Ueda (2012) found that WLB programs had a significantly positive impact on employees from both genders, when analyzing employee’s perceptions of WLB programs, their perceptions of their jobs, and employer satisfaction. The data showed that WLB programs had a higher positive impact on female employer satisfaction, in comparison to the other two constructs studied (Ueda, 2012).
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DeHart- Davis, L. et al (2006). Gender dimensions of public service motivation. Public Administration Review (66)6, 873- 887
Ebrahimi, B. (1999). Managerial motivation and gender roles: A study of females and males in Hong Kong. Women in Management Review (14)2, 44-53
Houts, L. (2010). Offensive motivation strategies: The managerial and legal implications. Journal of Business Case Studies (6)2, 41
Manolopoulos, D. (2008). An evaluation of employee motivation in the extended public sector in Greece. Employee Relations (30)1, 63
Syed, T. (2007). Impact of non-financial rewards on employee motivation: A case of cellular communication services providing sector of Telecom Industry registered under PTA in Islamabad. The Business Review, Cambridge (7)2, 272- 277
Ueda, Y. (2012). The relationship between work- life balance programs and employee satisfaction: Gender differences in the moderating effects of annual income. Journal of Business Administration Research (1)1, 65