The Business Process Outsourcing Industry
The current study aims to contribute to the dearth of literature on the motivational factors that influence the motivation of Indian business process outsourcing professionals who are deployed to the UK.The study further acknowledges the need to address the peculiar motivational needs of different professions operating amongst distinct industries.Because the business process outsourcing industry is a sunshine industry that holds much promise of progress, key players within this realm must be able to address all the concerns of consultants which they deploy offshore to ensure greater probability of success of offshore projects.
The results of a survey with 60 BPO professionals in the UK suggest that the highest ratings for motivational factors are clarity of instructions with tasks; presence of clearly-defined and performance-based indicators; and presence of clear, well-defined goals.
Notably, all factors are under the rule enforcement cluster of Katz & Kahn’s model of motivation. The respondents also expressed that the lowest motivational factors are competitive pay; having loyalty as a basis for rewards; and having seniority as a criterion for reward.
All these items belong to the cluster of external rewards. Logically, the highest rated motivation cluster is rule enforcement, while the lowest rated is external rewards. Based on the stepwise regression results, the positive, significant predictors of overall motivation include skills development, having realistic job expectations, lessened absenteeism as a result of motivation, seniority as a criterion for reward, and requiring less instruction or independence.
All factors are positively correlated with overall motivation, except for having realistic job expectations, which has a negative correlation with the dependent variable. This means that as job expectations become more realistic, there is a tendency for overall motivation to decrease correspondingly. Motivational Factors of Indian Offshore Consultants in the UK: An Empirical Study Introduction Numerous empirical researches have focused on the study of motivation and job satisfaction of employees in western contexts, but few have focused on Indian BPO employees.
Parikh & Ghosh (2006) have emphasized that reward perceptions of collectivist culture employees are strongly determined by the nature of their cultural heritage and that they put greater premium on the good of the many rather than on their personal interests. The effects of culture are further discussed by Thomas & Philip (1994) in his study of management in India, investigated the applicability of Western motivational theories in the context of India. These researches, among others, point out to the diverse array of factors that influence reward perceptions, and ultimately affect employee productivity.
The current study aims to contribute to the dearth of literature on the motivational factors that influence the motivation of Indian business process outsourcing professionals who are deployed to the UK. The study further acknowledges the need to address the peculiar motivational needs of different professions operating amongst distinct industries. Because the business process outsourcing industry is a sunshine industry that holds much promise of progress, key players within this realm must be able to address all the concerns of consultants which they deploy offshore to ensure greater probability of success of offshore projects.
Justification of the Study Culture and cognition exert a strong impact on the psychological work expectations and ensuing attitudes of employees. There are various variables that influence the job satisfaction of employees and these have been empirically investigated across countries (Earley, 1993). Despite the voluminous literature on job satisfaction, there is a dearth of studies that focus on the reward systems accorded to employees from collectivist cultures such as India (Graf et al, 1990), much more in the more specific context of BPO industry, investigating the applicability of Western reward systems in their context.
Past empirical studies have focused on a comparison between Western and Eastern employees’ reward perceptions (Dubinsky, 1994). These studies have found that such perceptions are significantly affected by their respective cultures, and the norms that come with it. Values, in turn, will affect the appeal that certain rewards have on the members of the sales force. It is critical for organisations to be aware of the most appropriate rewards strategies because this have a direct effect on the sales person’s performance and productivity (Dubinsky, 1994).
There has been no study to date that has focused specifically on the perception of rewards of BPO offshore consultants deployed to the United Kingdom. This study will permit timely and appropriate considerations in drafting the most optimal reward system for this group. This is the rationale for carrying out the current study. Review of Related Literature Revisiting the Process Theories of Motivation Process theories present viable explanations for the factors that have an impact on a person’s motivation, particularly on why he selects one course of action over another.
These are categorized into cognitive and non-cognitive groups. Cognitive theories assert that behaviour engages mental processes while non-cognitive theories propose that these are caused more by situational factors. The primary cognitive theories include equity, goal setting, and expectancy theories which all emphasize the perceptions of results that are an effect of a specific course of action (Adams, 1965). The first cognitive theory, equity theory suggests that motivation is a type of exchange in which persons use internal equilibrium in choosing a course of behaviour.
It projects that employees will select the option which they evaluate as most fair. The parts of the theory include inputs, outcomes, comparisons, and results. By definition are the traits that a person brings to the situations and the tasks that are necessary. On the other hand, outcomes are what the person benefits from the situation. The third component, comparisons is what transpires when the person weighs their inputs to some benchmark standard.
Results or outcomes consist of the attitudes and behaviours that stem from their comparison, with the latter being perceived as equitable for equilibrium within the individual to exist (Adams, 1965). The next type of cognitive theory, goal setting theory, presents that individuals target goals and those enterprises may exert impact on their course of action by influencing these targets. The primary parts of such theory include intentions, performance standards, goal acceptance, and the effort expended. The aggregate effect of these components determine motivation.
The engagement of an individual in goal setting is expected to enhance his sense of engagement and dedication to the company. Group setting is perceived to be less effective than individual goal setting because it lessens accountability for goal accomplishment. The objective or the goal is the most critical component of this theory; and such are deemed more effective when set with reasonable difficulty. While engagement in the setting of objectives enhances the likelihood of satisfaction, it does not necessarily result in more optimal performance (Mitchell, 1979).
The third cognitive theory is expectancy theory, which asserts that individuals select the course of action which they perceive will yield the most optimal benefit. It further says that employees will seek different courses of action and finally select the alternative which will cause them to reap a desired outcome or reward. The theory has lent itself substantially to empirical testing and it has good predictive validity in making predictions about choice of jobs, satisfaction with work, and to a lesser degree the effort that the person will exert at work.
In addition, the theory indicates that the individual’s expectations of being rewarded is as critical as his perception of the relationship between his actions and the rewards which he anticipates from the enterprise. Another implication of the theory is the uniqueness of individuals in the way rewards appeal to them; as such, companies must be prudent in being able to offer rewards which are deemed appealing by their employees (Mitchell, 1980). In connection with this, Hartog et al (1999) asserts that the perceptions of the social environment is influenced by the culture of the beholder.
In effect, the ideal traits of leaders vary across cultures. Hunt, Boal and Sorenson (1990) propose that societal culture has an important impact on the development of superordinate category prototypes and implicit leadership theories. They hold that values and ideologies act as a determinant of culture specific superordinate prototypes, dependent on their strength. There is premium attached to a more profound comprehension of the manner in which leadership is manifested across different cultures.
Thus, there is also a need for empirical research in this area to be able to understand the distinctions of leadership behaviour and its efficacy across cultures (House, 1995). Hartog et al (1999) asserts that there are various cultural profiles that have been culled from Hofstede’s framework of cultures and which have garnered various testable hypotheses on cross-cultural leadership. These encompass the dimensions of uncertainty avoidance, power distance, masculinity-femininity, individualism-collectivism, and future orientation.
There are cultures which are distinguished by strong uncertainty avoidance, and which put high importance on leaders’ compliance to protocol, rules, and customs. This is not too applicable for low uncertainty avoidance cultures (Hartog et al. , 1999). In low uncertainty avoidance cultures, innovation is encouraged. Moreover, paternalistic cultures espouse leaders who are authoritative, as compared to maternal cultures. The latter prefer leaders who are engaging and sensitive as opposed to directive (Hartog et al. , 1999). In the study conducted by Gerstner and Day (1994), they have investigated the differences in leadership prototypes.
In particular, the respondents were asked to rate 59 leadership traits. There were 35 American students and between 10-22 offshore students from seven nations; the results suggest that the strength of leader trait associations were distinct across cultures and native country. Considering the constraints of limited sample size, having to enlist students as respondents, and selecting offshore students who were then studying in the United States as representatives of other cultures, and having an unvalidated trait rating tool, there have been reliable distinctions found in their perceptions of leadership traits (Hartog et al, 1999).