Cross-Cultural Differences and Employee Motivation

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Risk analysis is an essential and compulsory step that assures a successful program implementation. It helps organizations to analyze and prioritize different risks that might affect the project execution. Proactive risk management approaches are necessary as they ensure the company develops mitigating measures to potential threats. Also, the process provides adequate information used in decision-making regarding the progression of the project. Risk analysis enables project managers to recognize the risks that impact the project, allowing the managers to develop effective solutions.

This enhances the organization’s preparedness for unexpected events that might hinder the implementation of strategic changes. The employee motivation program at Walmart will have various risks since it is multinational and operates cross-culturally. It becomes imperative to examine the potential risks of executing the program in different geographical regions where the company has established stores. This makes the risk analysis an integral part of the project process to understand the challenges and develop solutions to enhance its success.

The program in question aims to promote employee motivation at Walmart following the need to improve its productivity and performance. Staff inspiration is essential as it contributes to engagement and commitment towards achieving organizational goals. The identified program seeks to enhance workers’ incentives by delegating responsibilities and thinking independently with minimal supervision. Although adopting these measures will increase the motivation levels, there are several risks associated with the process.

Poor decision-making and ambiguity of responsibilities might affect the employee’s performance resulting in significant losses to the organization. Also, the workers could resist these changes as it would mean more responsibilities without additional wage increments. However, the most imperative risk involves implementing the program on a cross-cultural platform due to cultural differences. Research has shown that employee motivation varies significantly across cultures due to beliefs and behaviors (Zhao & Pan, 2017). Therefore, cross-cultural differences must be addressed to ensure a culturally diverse workforce embraces the program.

Walmart is a multinational corporation meaning that it operates in different countries with varying cultural beliefs and practices. This implies that the employee motivation program cannot work for all employees in different locations. It is imperative to understand workers’ needs and expectations in different cultural settings when considering how to motivate them. This is because workers hope that their needs will be satisfied despite their nationality. The significance of developing a flexible employee motivation program stems from the fact that workers in different countries hold different assumptions about their work (Zhao & Pan, 2017).

For instance, while Japanese workers attach social status and pride in their work, employees in the Middle East consider religion a guide towards perfection and motivation. Also, the living standards within a nation influence work, where people in countries with high living conditions compels individuals to take work seriously. Based on Hofstede’s cultural variables, employees perceive relies on the organizational culture in specific countries (Velten & Lashley, 2018). In that case, understanding the risks associated with cultural differences in countries where Walmart operates can help to create tailored motivation incentives.

Different theories have been used to describe the factors that motivate employees, both intrinsic and extrinsic. Herzberg’s two-factor theory holds that hygiene factors do not motivate employees but avoid dissatisfaction, while motivational factors are associated with employee satisfaction and motivation (Velten & Lashley, 2018). The model identifies supervision as a hygiene factor, while recognition is a motivational factor (Velten & Lashley, 2018). In a cross-cultural context, the perception of both hygiene and motivational factors might differ significantly due to specific cultural values. Labor relations, such as low wages and working conditions are major concerns that affect employee motivation at Walmart.

However, implementing a program that improves employees’ responsibilities positively impacts the working conditions. On the other hand, allowing employees to think and act independently will avoid dissatisfaction based on Herzberg’s two-factor theory. Research shows that the degree of satisfaction differs despite the employee needs being similar across cultures (Hitka et al., 2019). For instance, while Japanese companies emphasize team performance, workers in the US focus on individual recognition and material rewards. Such variations imply that the motivation program must be adjusted accordingly to suit employees with diverse cultural backgrounds.

The risk analysis of cultural differences between countries where an international company operates reveals that employees have varying motivation determinants. Since Walmart operates in both high and low culture countries, the employee motivation program will be adapted for each category. The primary objective is to ensure that workers are self-motivated by removing barriers associated with supervision and supporting their risk-taking initiatives. Culture plays an important role in informing the worker’s perceptions of their specific roles.

However, it is universal that many employees will find the program encouraging to exercise more flexibility in their decisions. Although this can yield positive outcomes, the company should take proactive measures and enhance employee training to understand its roles. Also, leadership courses should be offered to ensure that workers can make fast decisions based on the best judgment to improve efficiency and performance. In that way, the program will navigate the risks associated with delays and cultural differences leading to success.


Hitka, M., Rózsa, Z., Potkány, M., & Ližbetinová, L. (2019). Factors forming employee motivation are influenced by regional and age-related differences. Journal of Business Economics and Management, 20(4), 674-693. Web.

Velten, L., & Lashley, C. (2018). The meaning of cultural diversity among staff as it pertains to employee motivation. Research in Hospitality Management, 7(2), 105-113. Web.

Zhao, B., & Pan, Y. (2017). Cross-cultural employee motivation in international companies. Journal of Human Resource and Sustainability Studies, 5(4), 215-222. Web.

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