Original Research

Rejuvenating the rewards typology: Qualitative insights into reward preferences

Janine A. Victor, Crystal Hoole
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 47 | a1880 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v47i0.1880 | © 2021 Janine A. Victor, Crystal Hoole | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 January 2021 | Published: 13 August 2021

About the author(s)

Janine A. Victor, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Crystal Hoole, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: In order to drive desirable behaviour, employees need to feel valued. It is, therefore, important to identify which rewards motivate employees and satisfy their needs.

Research purpose: The overarching aims of this study were to explore how South African employees feel rewarded at work and to develop a model depicting how rewards can be categorised.

Motivation for the study: There is a dearth of qualitative research on reward preferences, especially on the psychological façade of this construct.

Research approach/design and method: Using a phenomenological research approach and in-depth interviewing techniques, 47 South African employees participated in focus group sessions. To analyse the data, a deductive and constructionist thematic analysis was employed.

Main findings: The rewards construct is perceived to be multidimensional. Rewards can be categorised into three main categories: (1) extrinsic financial rewards (consisting of the total remuneration package), (2) extrinsic non-financial rewards (inclusive of good relationships, learning and development opportunities, organisational culture, communication, recognition, the physical working environment, feedback and work-life balance) and intrinsic-psychological rewards (encapsulating autonomy, meaningful work, felt competence, task enjoyment and challenging work).

Practical/managerial implications: Outdated reward strategies should be re-evaluated to include all three categories of rewards. This means that there should also be a more in-depth focus on intrinsic-psychological rewards in the workplace.

Contribution/value-add: This study highlighted the importance of using extrinsic (financial and non-financial) as well as intrinsic-psychological rewards to motivate employees and satisfy their needs. The insights gained from this research study can be used by future researchers and practitioners to construct modernised rewards frameworks.


Keywords

reward preferences; extrinsic financial rewards; extrinsic non-financial rewards; intrinsic-psychological rewards; work motivation; job satisfaction; qualitative research

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