To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

The comparison of preferred languages of appreciation between Singapore employees and US employees

Paul White (Appreciation at Work, Wichita, USA)
Natalie Hamrick (Appreciation at Work, Wichita, USA)
Jasmine Liew (Breakthrough Catalyst LLP, Singapore)

Development and Learning in Organizations

ISSN: 1477-7282

Article publication date: 27 September 2019

Issue publication date: 20 January 2020

Abstract

Purpose

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/approach

Nine 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.

Findings

Acts 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/implications

Further 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 implications

Workplace 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/value

This 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.

Keywords

Citation

White, P., Hamrick, N. and Liew, J. (2020), "The comparison of preferred languages of appreciation between Singapore employees and US employees", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 34 No. 1, pp. 12-15. https://doi.org/10.1108/DLO-04-2019-0066

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited