Cognitive Evaluation Theory

Last Updated: 20 Apr 2022
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This theory suggests that by the shifting from rewarding its employees with external rewards to internal rewards, the management is able to motivate its people. The theory further suggests that even after the management halts the external stimulus, the internal stimulus still continue to prosper. According to the theory, external motivators like promotions, incentives or pay increments should be done concurrently with internal stimulus like drives, interest recognition and responsibility appraisals.

The argument behind this approach is that even when the management withdraws the external stimulus, the employees still find the internal stimulus motivating enough. This theory however admits that employees lay more emphasis on the extrinsic rewards than they do the internal rewards. Researchers suggest that the reason why motivated people show better productivity as opposed to those who lack motivation boils down to important personal needs. The latter group often takes work in a strictly direction controlled work environments while the former works in environments that satisfies their needs.

People who work in restrained environments are more likely to pursue economic benefits while behaving with indolence. They are also more likely to resist changes in the organization, and often times are unwilling to take up responsibilities in the work place. On a personal level, it is obvious that an employer needs not only feel that his contribution is valued in the company, but also needs to feel secure about it. For this, keeping the morale of the employee up is the single important thing that a company should focus on.

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Individual employees have different perceptions based on their age, educational level, occupational character, social class, cultural orientation and position in the job hierarchy (Herzberg &Snyderman, 1993) Individual traits also affect job search, job performance and job satisfaction (Latham, 2006). In addition, personal traits also include self regulatory, self-monitoring strategies, self evaluations, goal orientation, autonomy, environment and control. To this, an employer would have to identify factors that regulate a person’s behavior in the workplace and then determine the traits that would impact them.

Notable is the cultural orientation that employees have and which have significant influences on their levels of motivation Power Distance: This is the extent that less powerful employees in an organization accept the unequal distribution of power. It also describes the extent, which an individual employee accepts the additional powers that their superiors have over them. This also describes the extent of which junior employees agrees to their seniors orders just because of the latter’s position.

In company’s with high power distance, employees cannot express their opinions, doubts or disagreements to their bosses (via-web. de, 2008) ? Individualism: This is the ability of the individual employee to either work alone or in a group. It also refers to the level that an individual can be integrated into group work. Cultures that promote individualism do not lay much emphasis on the need to have strong family or community ties, while cultures that treasure community groups will integrate every one in the group to set community structures.

Employee’s individualism culture or lack of it may affect how he relates to other employees and how he takes his roles in the company. Masculinity Vs Femininity: This refers to how roles are distributed between genders in the society. In different cultures, men and women have different roles. Whether male or female, an employee’s assertiveness, competitiveness and modesty among other values may vary. This affects his/her performance at work and the motivations that the employer that may apply in order to improve productivity.

Uncertainty avoidance: This refers to the extent which a culture has programmed its members to feel comfortable or uncomfortable about structured situations. Unstructured situations have more room for flexibility, are different, can be surprising and carry an air of mystery and challenges. Structured cultures on the other hand have set rules that govern the society. Employees from the two different cultures can fair well in a liberal workplace, although those from a structured workplace would have security issues over the new found freedom.

Employees from unstructured societies would on the other hand have a hard time adjusting to structured workplaces and the employees would therefore need to target higher levels of motivation towards them if the organization needs to retain them. Overall, it is hard to know why people do what they do and what motivates them. Even the cultural social explanation does not always hold good explanation in to what motivation is.

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Cognitive Evaluation Theory. (2018, Mar 15). Retrieved from

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