M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentShokef Efrat
SubjectThe Effect of Cross-Cultural Differences on Reactions to
Change in Reward Pattern
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor PROFESSOR EMERITUS Miriam Erez


Most of the research on Culture has taken a snap shot of the cultural characteristics at a given time. This research dealt with the process of cultural change and examined the effects of three factors on the change process: (a) The Cultural value of individualism-collectivism, (b) The reward structure and it’s congruence with the underlying cultural values, and (c) The degree of uncertainty in the changes in the reward structure. The change process focused on a shift from individual work towards a team based mode of work and vice versa. Two sub-cultures from Israel participated in the study: Arab Israeli citizens, who were characterized, by high levels of collectivism, and Jewish citizens who were characterized in lower levels of collectivism compared to the Arabs.  Findings indicated that members of high compared with low collectivists, were more resistant to change. In addition, the extent of behavioral change was lower when taking place under uncertain conditions, and when the rewarded alternative was not compatible with the underlying cultural values.  Moreover, the two cultures in this study differed in their reactions to uncertainty, and value-reward incongruence, in particular when the rewarded alternative was to work in teams: In incongruent and uncertain conditions the behavioral change towards the rewarded alternative was higher for the low rather than high collectivists. To sum, the study demonstrated that the power of monetary rewards may be hindered by cultural values, in particular when the rewards are incongruent with the cultural values, and in ambiguous situations