Cultural Values and Motivation in Nigeria Work Settings

Cultural Values and Motivation in Nigeria Work Settings

Osarumwense Iguisi (Euro-African Management Research Centre, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4639-1.ch018


There has been general upsurge in cultures and management research in the last decades. Despite this fact, empirical studies on culture dimensions to management practices in Sub-Saharan Africa have been limited in numbers and scope. In Africa, there is very limited knowledge about cultural values and the consequences they pose for employee motivation. A major research question this study tries to address is whether the results could help to explain the disappointing economic development of Nigeria. The findings do confirm profound employee motivational values with the family collective interests playing a very important role in Nigeria. The study challenges the validity of the dominant Western universal perspectives in employee motivation in traditional African organizations. The study suggests that elements of traditional values pose serious challenges to African managers’ abilities to adopt local cultural and traditional values practices that can improve the effectiveness of employee motivation in their organizations.
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A few scholars of management in Africa have built their studies on the cultural construct, using this to emphasize the importance of the cultural context to the behavior of African managers. These scholars reject the intellectual arguments underlying modernization and instead argue in favor of management practices that are, at least, in consonance with African traditions. The concept of ‘tradition’ in this regard connotes perspectives on values, norms, belief systems, social relations, and the residual effects of history, attitudes and accepted rules of behavior held in different societies.

The theoretical bases for this study draw largely from two streams of literature. The first theoretical base for the study relates largely to theoretical discourse on culture, management and organization. The second stream is represented by the discourse on modern management motivation theories as proposed by western management scholars, notably; Maslow 1960; Herzberg 1966; Hofstede 1980, 1991, and Vroom 1964.

Therefore, analysis was made to determine culture and management perceptions and attitudes among the employee in the African-Nigerian cement industry. The study looked for cultural values for management effectiveness and dysfunction, and then moves to develop explanatory theories of employee’s motivation patterns that are flexible, appropriate and effective in managing organizations in Africa.

As a methodology, the author used the quantitative questionnaire survey and the qualitative open-ended interviews to collect data from respondents in the organizations. The quantitative questionnaires and open-ended interviews were centered on these modern and traditional factors: ethnicity, family and social connections. Apart from these, the theoretical framework for analysis also was to discover the inconsistencies and ambiguities inherent in Western management theories in order to bring about congruency of cultural and managerial needs in motivating the African managers.

The study, which is exploratory in design, attempts to generate new insights into the dynamics of cultural values in management in Africa. Essentially, the problem that the study tries to examine is how various respondents perceive modernity and traditional values in modern motivation patterns and the clash of modernity and traditional values in management.

The objective of this research is to draw attention to the relevance of cultures to management with the sole purpose of contributing to a culturally feasible theory of employee motivation. Employee motivation patterns in Africa requires identification of ‘growth-positive' and 'growth-negative' cultural value based-factors.

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