Critically Evaluate Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as Way of Understanding Employee Motivation in Contemporary Chinese Business

1483 Words Oct 31st, 2012 6 Pages
Critically evaluate Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as way of understanding employee motivation in contemporary Chinese business

Business mangers today are facing two main challenges because of the rapid global economic growth: one is organizational efficiency; the other is the necessity to improve competitive strategies (Wang, 2007). To keep up with this growth, they need to improve productivity to increase enterprise revenue and also invent new technologies or products to expand markets. It is pointed out by Hurst (1995), employee attitudes is a key factor which influence a company’s future success. That is because people’s attitudes decide their behavior (Cooper and Croyle, 1984), therefore, it is of great importance that companies and
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Concluded by Locke (1976), needs are not universal but belongs to every human being.

Job attitudes are closely related with cultural values, Hofstede (1980) argued that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is not fully applicable when it comes to countries with different culture. Therefore, the cultural difference between western countries and China may be the most signification reason to explain why Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is not practicable when it comes to Chinese model. Study the background of the theory, Maslow based his theory on USA’s business style and influenced by American’s individualism, workers put more attention to ‘I’ than ‘us’, therefore, personal achievement is very important to them. However, China has a collective culture which emphasize on group rather than individual. This means that in a Chinese company, the relationship plays an important role and employees are in need of a sense of belonging to ensure he or she is involved in the group (Gambrel and Cianci, 2003). In addition, Chinese pay more attention to social needs rather than self-needs (Robbins and Judge, 2008). Influenced by Chinese traditional Confucian value system, the sense’ not to dare to be ahead of the world’ stress the importance of the harmony of groups. This makes it less impossible for Chinese employees achieve self-actualized (Green, 2011). Furthermore, traditional Chinese culture put emphasis on the word ‘face’ that is
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