employee motivation

Topics: Motivation, Organizational commitment, Validity Pages: 50 (7882 words) Published: November 25, 2013
Page 1 of 10

Original Research

The relative importance of different types of rewards
for employee motivation and commitment in
South Africa
Aleeshah Nujjoo1
Ines Meyer1
Organisational Psychology
Section, School of
Management Studies,
University of Cape Town,
South Africa
Correspondence to:
Ines Meyer

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.

Postal address:
School of Management
Studies, University of
Cape Town, Private Bag,
Rondebosch 7700,
South Africa

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.

Received: 28 Oct. 2011
Accepted: 26 Sept. 2012
Published: 26 Nov. 2012

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.

How to cite this article:
Nujjoo, A., & Meyer,
I. (2012). The relative
importance of different types
of rewards for employee
motivation and commitment
in South Africa. SA Journal
of Human Resource
Management/SA Tydskrif vir
10(2), Art. #442, 10 pages.

© 2012. The Authors.
Licensee: AOSIS
OpenJournals. This work
is licensed under the
Creative Commons
Attribution License.

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.

Problem statement
Key focus of the study
As a consequence of competitive markets, technological advancements and globalisation, organisations worldwide are facing challenges in retaining their human capital. This is no different in South Africa, as research by Kinnear and Sutherland (2001) has shown. Staff attrition is of concern to organisations because of its high associated cost. It is estimated that the total cost of an exempted employee turnover amounts to a minimum of one year’s pay and benefits (Ramlall, 2004). In addition to the direct costs, the exit of employees also implies the loss of valuable intellectual capital and thus competitive advantage. In order to retain its staff, organisations often focus on remuneration and other monetary benefits as their main retention strategy although research has long established that employees are unlikely to remain in the employment relationship when incentivised by monetary benefits alone (e.g. Herzberg, 1959). This begs the question as to what other types of...

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