An examination of traditional versus non‐traditional benefits

Lori A. Muse (Department of Management, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, California, USA)
Lori L. Wadsworth (Romney Institute of Public Management, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Publication date: 10 February 2012



The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the perceived value of traditional versus non‐tradition benefits may be related to the employee‐employer relationship, and how the perception of that relationship might be linked to job performance and turnover intentions.


Multi‐source data were collected from a random sample of employees and their supervisors at a healthcare organization (n=457).


Non‐traditional benefits have a positive direct relationship with perceived organizational support (POS), whereas traditional health and financial benefits are not related to POS. The relationships between benefits perceptions and POS are moderated by marital status, but not gender. In addition, POS had a strong negative relationship with turnover intentions, and a positive relationship with task performance, job dedication and interpersonal facilitation.

Research limitations/implications

Whereas data collected were multisource in nature, data were collected at the same point in time; therefore the authors could not test causality. Moreover, females were over‐represented in the sample, limiting generalizability.

Practical implications

Managing benefits costs is one of many challenges facing human resource managers in the current economy. This study provides a better understanding of the relationship between employee benefits and important outcomes. The paper's findings emphasize the importance of assessing employees' perceived value of benefits when human resource managers are making decisions about benefit programs.


This study contributes to the literature in several ways. First, this study offers evidence to solve past conflicts regarding the existence and nature of the relationship between benefits and POS. Second, this research contributes to the need to document potential work outcomes of benefit packages. Third, it distinguishes among different kinds of benefits (traditional vs non‐traditional), and shows that non‐traditional benefits can signal to employees how much they are valued by the organization.



Muse, L. and Wadsworth, L. (2012), "An examination of traditional versus non‐traditional benefits", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 112-131.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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