Where intrinsic job satisfaction fails to work: National moderators of intrinsic motivation

Xu Huang*, Evert Van De Vliert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

167 Citations (Scopus)


This study sought for national characteristics that moderate the individual-level relationship between job characteristics and job satisfaction. Data from two distinct questionnaire surveys administered to 107,292 employees in 49 countries was analyzed by employing multilevel modeling. Results showed that the link between intrinsic job characteristics and job satisfaction is stronger in richer countries, countries with better governmental social welfare programs, more individualistic countries, and smaller power distance countries. By contrast, extrinsic job characteristics are strongly and positively related to job satisfaction in all countries. In addition, we found that intrinsic job characteristics tend to produce motivating satisfaction in countries with good governmental social welfare programs irrespective of the degree of power distance, while they do not tend to work so in countries with poor governmental social welfare programs as well as a large power distance culture. Socio-economic and cultural approaches to explaining cross-national variation in work motivation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-179
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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