Management & Marketing

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Purpose – This study aims to examine the impact of managerial use of motivating language on employee absenteeism, turnover intention, job satisfaction and job performance for employees from three nations: India, the USA and Vietnam.

Design/methodology/approach – Data is collected from 614 employees working in India, the USA and Vietnam. A variance-based partial least squares structural equation modeling technique is used to test the hypotheses. In addition, a statistical test is used to examine the statistical differences in the results across the three nations.

Findings – The findings are consistent with the motivating language theory, in that managerial use of motivating language can be an effective strategy in motivating employees. Specifically, motivating language is found to significantly decrease employee absenteeism and turnover intention, as well as significantly increase job satisfaction and performance across the three nations. The effect sizes indicate that, across all samples, motivating language has a medium effect for all employee outcomes, except absenteeism, which is shown to have a small effect size. Moreover, the results indicate that employees in different cultures perceive and interpret the leader’s use of motivating language in different ways. Whereas motivating language may receive greater success in promoting workers’ job performance in eastern cultures, it is also more effective in retaining employees in western cultures.

Originality/value – The study adds to the literature in three major ways. First, it provides evidence for two understudied relationships: motivating language and absenteeism and motivating language and turnover intention. Second, it assesses the generalizability of the motivating language theory by investigating data from India, the USA and Vietnam. Finally, this paper offers a statistical comparison of the three samples to analyze how the relationship between motivating language and worker outcomes differ among the three samples.

Publication/Presentation Information

Nguyen, C.N. (2020) "Motivating Language and Employee Outcomes: A Multinational Investigation." Management Research Review. DOI 10.1108/MRR-02-2020-0071



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