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Article
Publication date: 18 December 2018

Paul White, Natalie Hamrick, Tim Hepner and Rob Toomey

Given that assessment tools based upon the Jung/Myers personality framework and the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory are used by tens of thousands of workplaces, questions…

Abstract

Purpose

Given that assessment tools based upon the Jung/Myers personality framework and the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory are used by tens of thousands of workplaces, questions have arisen regarding their interrelatedness. The purpose of the current study is to assess the relationship between TypeCoach personality type and Language of Appreciation.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 300 participants took both the MBA Inventory and TypeCoach Verifier. Each person’s primary Language of Appreciation and the summary scores for each of the four languages (Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time and Tangible Gifts) were calculated. Each participant’s TypeCoach data were scored as 1 of 16 traditional four-letter types (i.e. INTJ, ENFP), as well as dichotomously coded as extraversion (vs not), sensing (vs not), thinking (vs not) and judging (vs not). Logistic regression and chi-square tests were conducted to assess the relationships between primary Language of Appreciation and TypeCoach Verifier.

Findings

None of the analyses yielded a statistically significant relationship between Language of Appreciation and TypeCoach scores (all ps > 0.05).

Originality/value

This study is the first to assess the relationship between Jung/Myers personality types and languages of appreciation. It appears that personality type and preferred ways of receiving appreciation are independent, but potentially complimentary constructs. This study provides suggestions on how to best combine the tools to create an engaging work environment.

Details

Strategic HR Review, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-4398

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 December 2022

Paul White

Previous research has documented the distribution of preferences of various appreciation languages by employees in general work settings. This paper aims to explore if employee…

147

Abstract

Purpose

Previous research has documented the distribution of preferences of various appreciation languages by employees in general work settings. This paper aims to explore if employee preferences for appreciation vary across different types of workplace settings.

Design/methodology/approach

The Motivating By Appreciation Inventory assesses individuals’ preferred ways of receiving appreciation from their workplace colleagues, determining each person’s primary language of appreciation in one of four appreciation languages. Results for 114,827 individuals were examined across the general workforce and in six work settings (government agencies, medical settings, military personnel, nonprofit organizations, remote employees and schools).

Findings

Preferences within four work settings (government, nonprofits, remote, schools) were consistent with those from general work settings. But employees in medical settings and in the military choose Acts of Service more frequently than other employees. Quality Time is more valued by school and remote employees. Tangible Gifts are chosen at lower rates by government employees and military personnel.

Research limitations/implications

The subjects are all English-speaking and predominately in the USA. The results may not be generalizable to other cultures and language speakers.

Practical implications

Human resource professionals should be aware that employees in different types of workplaces vary in their appreciation preferences. Adjusting appreciation programs and practices should mirror these differences.

Originality/value

To the best of the author’s knowledge, this research is the first known to document differences in preferences for appreciation across various types of workplaces.

Details

Strategic HR Review, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-4398

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 June 2018

Paul White

The proportion of remote workers in America continues to increase every year. Research has demonstrated that feeling appreciated in the workplace increases employee engagement…

1313

Abstract

Purpose

The proportion of remote workers in America continues to increase every year. Research has demonstrated that feeling appreciated in the workplace increases employee engagement, reduces turnover and increases profitability. The current study aims to determine if remote workers differ in the manner they prefer to be shown appreciation.

Design/methodology/approach

From 2014 to 2018, workers completed the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (White, 2011a), opting for either the general version designed for face-to-face work settings (N = 86,393) or the version designed for long-distance work relationships (N = 2,640).

Findings

Employees in a long-distance work relationship chose quality time (“hanging out” with coworkers, working together on a project, someone taking time to listen to them) as their preferred means to be shown appreciation more frequently (35 per cent) than workers on site (25 per cent). Words of affirmation (oral or written praise) remain high for both groups, but the long-distance group did not value it as much (long-distance: 38 per cent, general: 48 per cent).

Practical implications

The results suggest that supervisors and staff members working in long-distance work relationships must be more proactive than in face-to-face relationships to incorporate meaningful interactions that speak to long-distance colleagues.

Originality/value

This is the first study to assess the differences in preferred ways to be shown appreciation in the workplace with respect to long-distance vs face-to-face work environments.

Details

Strategic HR Review, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-4398

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 October 2019

Paul White and Natalie Hamrick

Businesses are spending billions of dollars on recognition rewards with the intent of boosting employee engagement, job satisfaction, and ultimately, their bottom line. However…

282

Abstract

Purpose

Businesses are spending billions of dollars on recognition rewards with the intent of boosting employee engagement, job satisfaction, and ultimately, their bottom line. However, employee engagement is at an all-time low. The purpose of this study was designed to take a step back to understand if there are demographic differences that influence personal preferences for tangible gifts as their preferred language of appreciation and of those who prefer to receive gifts, what types of gifts are most valued.

Design/methodology/approach

This study compared the demographics of those who selected tangible gifts as their primary (N  =  8,811), secondary (N = 14,827) or least valued (N  = 108,586) language of appreciation (motivating by appreciation inventory, White, 2011). From those with tangible gifts as their primary language of appreciation, 500 were randomly selected to code their open-ended suggestions for a preferred gift.

Findings

There are no important factors across the demographics of gender, age or work setting that influence whether individuals are more or less likely to choose tangible gifts as their primary, secondary or least valued language of appreciation. Respondents identified gift cards, additional paid time off and gifts related to desired personal experiences as their top gift choices.

Originality/value

When giving gifts to colleagues, discovering individuals’ personal preferences (favorite store, restaurant, ticketed event, food, drink and lunch option) is more likely to result in a gift that “hits the mark” in showing appreciation to the recipient.

Details

Strategic HR Review, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-4398

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 April 2020

Natalie Hamrick and Paul White

Although managers agree that showing appreciation to their employees is important, many do not know how to do so effectively. Languages of Appreciation have been identified that…

718

Abstract

Purpose

Although managers agree that showing appreciation to their employees is important, many do not know how to do so effectively. Languages of Appreciation have been identified that uniquely convey that the recipient is valued when appreciation is expressed in the “language” they prefer. Moreover, a wide range of specific actions can be effective within a given appreciation language. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify the top ten action items within each language of appreciation to discover the actions preferred most frequently by employees.

Design/methodology/approach

Of the over 200,000 individuals who have completed the Motivating by Appreciation Inventory, approximately 1% of respondents were randomly selected to represent each primary language (Words of Affirmation N = 1,000, Acts of Service N = 500, Quality Time N = 500 and Tangible Gifts N = 300). Respondents’ action item preferences were then tallied.

Findings

Numerous themes were identified, along with the most desired acts of appreciation within each language: Words of Affirmation: acknowledge when I have handled a difficult situation well; Acts of Service: offer to do some menial tasks that will allow me to focus on higher priorities for me; Quality Time: go to lunch together and not talk about business issues; and Tangible Gifts: gift cards (visa gift card or to favorite store/restaurant).

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to report on the specific actions most desired by employees within their preferred appreciation languages. The results can help inform actions that are most likely to be successful in showing appreciation to colleagues in the workplace.

Details

Strategic HR Review, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-4398

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 July 2018

Paul White

Research demonstrates that feeling appreciated in the workplace increases employee engagement, reduces turnover, and increases profitability. Despite the fact that people differ…

1199

Abstract

Purpose

Research demonstrates that feeling appreciated in the workplace increases employee engagement, reduces turnover, and increases profitability. Despite the fact that people differ in how they feel most appreciated, no work to date has explored the impact of age differences on appreciation preferences. The purpose of this paper is to determine if Millennial workers vs their older colleagues differ in the manner they prefer to be shown appreciation.

Design/methodology/approach

From 2014 to 2018, 62,156 workers completed the Motivating by Appreciation Inventory (White, 2011) and provided age, gender, and work industry information. Each person’s primary and the least valued languages of appreciation in the workplace were identified. Four age groups were created of approximately equal numbers: ≤29-, 30-39-, 40-49-, and 50+ years old.

Findings

Words of Affirmation was the most prominent primary language of appreciation across all four age groups and most pronounced in the oldest group (50+). The ≤29-year-old group valued Quality Time more and Acts of Service less than the other three age groups. There were no age group differences in the least valued language of appreciation.

Practical implications

The results suggest that supervisors and staff members must be mindful to include opportunities for quality time interactions with Millennial workers, as well as provide words of affirmation, to show appreciation for their work.

Originality/value

This is the first study to assess age differences in preferred ways to be shown appreciation in the workplace.

Details

Human Resource Management International Digest, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-0734

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 April 2024

Paul White

Research has demonstrated that employees desire to be shown appreciation in various ways. The five languages of appreciation provide a model for exploring these differences. This…

Abstract

Purpose

Research has demonstrated that employees desire to be shown appreciation in various ways. The five languages of appreciation provide a model for exploring these differences. This study aims to explore whether individuals who speak different languages (and are from various cultures) differ in how they prefer to be shown appreciation.

Design/methodology/approach

The Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (MBAI) is an online tool that assesses each person’s preferences in how they desire to be shown appreciation at work. Initially developed in English, the MBAI has been translated into seven additional languages. Over 2,200 employees took the MBAI in their preferred spoken language: Mandarin (Chinese), Danish, French (Canadian), Portuguese (Brazilian), Spanish (Latin American), Thai and Turkish. The frequency of each group’s preferred appreciation languages was analyzed to determine similarities and differences across the languages spoken.

Findings

Given the non-normal distribution of the data, the Kruskal–Wallis test found that there was a significant difference in preferences for participants’ primary appreciation language across the seven groups of various spoken languages. One key theme was that words of affirmation were most frequently chosen by five of the seven language groups, whereas employees from Thailand and Turkey chose acts of service most frequently. Additionally, tangible gifts were the least frequently chosen appreciation language by all groups, and at rates below their US counterparts. In three of the languages, quality time was preferred significantly less compared with the other languages.

Research limitations/implications

Some of the groups’ findings (Portuguese, Thai) may be impacted by a confounding variable of the type of work setting (manufacturing) in which the employees worked – in comparison to office-based work settings.

Practical implications

One theme was, in comparison to other ways of receiving appreciation, tangible gifts are not highly valued by most employees across all language groups. Therefore, organizations using gifts as the primary way to communicate appreciation to employees may be wasting a lot of money. Similar to English-speaking employees, five of the seven language groups chose words as their preferred appreciation language. A wide range exists, however, across language groups with regards to the proportion who desire words, quality time or acts of service. Multicultural organizations should pay attention to employee preferences, lest they waste time and energy on undesired actions.

Originality/value

To the best of the author’s knowledge, this is the first study that has examined the preferences of how employees like to be shown appreciation across seven different language groups.

Details

Strategic HR Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-4398

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 August 2023

Paul White

The purpose of this study was to explore the question: Does the Motivating By Appreciation (MBA) Inventory accurately identify the ways that individuals prefer to be shown…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to explore the question: Does the Motivating By Appreciation (MBA) Inventory accurately identify the ways that individuals prefer to be shown appreciation by their colleagues at work?

Design/methodology/approach

Over 400 remote employees responded to an online questionnaire, answering an open-ended question regarding how they liked to be shown appreciation by colleagues. Their answers were coded according to the four languages of appreciation assessed by the MBA Inventory, and then a pairwise comparison was completed with their primary language of appreciation as identified by the MBA Inventory.

Findings

In total, 80% of the participants’ responses matched their preferred appreciation language from specific actions given with their primary language of appreciation on the MBA Inventory. A chi-square analysis was found to be highly statistically significant (p < 0.001) and the Cramer V effect size (0.61) indicated a strong relationship between the observed and expected number of matches. As a result, the MBA Inventory was found to be highly accurate in identifying individuals’ preferred appreciation language when comparing their primary language of appreciation to specific actions they identified as meaningful to them.

Research limitations/implications

Participants were remote employees, with a majority being 40 years old or older. Therefore, caution should be taken in generalizing these results to other populations.

Practical implications

HR practitioners can use the MBA Inventory with a reasonable amount of confidence that the results are accurate.

Originality/value

To the best of the author’s knowledge, no other research exploring the validity of an online assessment of appreciation is known.

Details

Strategic HR Review, vol. 22 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-4398

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 March 2023

Paul White

The Motivating By Appreciation (MBA) Inventory is an online assessment that identifies employees’ preferred ways of receiving appreciation from their colleagues, including their…

Abstract

Purpose

The Motivating By Appreciation (MBA) Inventory is an online assessment that identifies employees’ preferred ways of receiving appreciation from their colleagues, including their primary language of appreciation. This study aims to examine the internal consistency of the MBA Inventory by analyzing the results of over 114,000 employees. Given that the data are categorical, the coefficient alpha τ, a nonparametric measure of internal consistency, was used. The results found the internal consistency for identifying employees’ primary language of appreciation to be at an acceptable level.

Design/methodology/approach

Results of 114,828 individuals who had taken the MBA Inventory were analyzed. The results of the MBA Inventory are nominal data (the languages of appreciation: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Tangible Gifts); therefore, the commonly used Pearson’s correlation coefficient is not appropriate. Alternatively, a nonparametric measure of internal consistency, Cronbach’s coefficient alpha τ, was used for the analysis to determine the consistency of the items for each appreciation language in identifying employees’ primary language of appreciation.

Findings

While, for the Pearson’s correlation coefficient, correlations of 0.70 or higher are considered acceptable, acceptable coefficient alpha τ correlations range from 0.20 to 0.40. The results of this analysis found the MBA Inventory to have acceptable internal consistency, with a coefficient alpha τ of 0.32. That is, the ability of the assessment items to identify an individual’s preferred appreciation language is significantly more accurate than if the individual had responded randomly.

Research limitations/implications

Even though the MBA Inventory is available in eight languages and has been used globally, the vast majority (>90%) of individuals taking the inventory are primarily English-speaking and located in the USA. Thus, the generalizability of the results is limited for other cultures and languages.

Originality/value

The MBA Inventory has been used by thousands of companies and organizations, and taken by over 350,000 employees, but the psychometric properties of the inventory are still being examined. This study helps solidify one aspect (the internal consistency) of the inventory’s ability to accurately assess the ways employees prefer to be shown appreciation.

Details

Strategic HR Review, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-4398

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 September 2019

Paul White, Natalie Hamrick and Jasmine Liew

Recent reports suggest Singapore employees especially value practical assistance in resolving work-related issues. As such, this study explored whether the appreciation language…

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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.

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. 34 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

Keywords

1 – 10 of over 11000