Recent reports suggest Singapore employees especially value practical assistance in resolving work-related issues. As such, this study explored whether the appreciation language Acts of Service was chosen as the Primary Language of appreciation by Singapore employees at a higher frequency than U.S. employees.Design/methodology/approachNine hundred sixty-seven Singapore employees completed the Motivating By Appreciation (MBA) Inventory, which assesses individuals’ preferred ways of being shown appreciation. A sample of 921 U.S. employees was created from the general MBA Inventory population that matched the Singapore employees group on age, gender and work setting.FindingsActs of Service (39 per cent) was virtually equivalent with Words of Affirmation (37 per cent) as the most preferred Language of Appreciation by the Singapore employees, whereas U.S. employees preferred Words of Affirmation at a significantly higher rate (40 per cent) than Acts of Service (26 per cent).Research limitations/implicationsFurther research is needed before the findings should be generalized to all East Asian cultures, and additional research is needed before conclusions should be made regarding specific cultural differences in action items preferred.Practical implicationsWorkplace leaders in Singapore need to be aware that understanding the work issues and providing practical assistance is highly valued by their employees and communicates appreciation as much as verbal and written praise. This emphasis on the desire for practical assistance is a cultural difference in comparison to their U.S. counterparts. Yet, in both cultures, the leader-employee interpersonal working relationship is a key factor that enables organizations to grow and work through changes successfully.Originality/valueThis is the first study to compare preferred appreciation languages of Singapore and US employees, and report Singapore employees especially value practical assistance in resolving work-related issues.
Development and Learning in Organizations – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 20, 2020
Keywords: Employee engagement; Appreciation; International differences; Singapore workforce