Why is the Motivation of Non-Regular Employees Not Low? From the Viewpoints of Equity Theory and Social Comparison Processes Theory


The aim of this study is to use perspectives from equity theory and social comparison to explain the reason why non-regular employees’ motivation is not low, despite working at relatively low pay compared to regular employees. To achieve this, the study conducted a questionnaire survey of regular (full-time) and part-time employees of a grocery store chain retail business. The results indicated the following: (1) part-time workers have greater motivation, affective commitment, and job satisfaction than regular workers; (2) increased perception of distributive justice leads to greater motivation, affective commitment, and job satisfaction; (3) part-time managers can be divided according to their choice of comparative referent between a group that chooses fellow part-time managers, a group that chooses regular employees (upward comparison), and a group that chooses part-time workers (downward comparison); and (4) there is a greater tendency for male part-time managers to make upward comparison than females. Additionally, among female part-time managers, there is a tendency for single mothers to make upward comparison, and for the “with spouse, without children” group to make downward comparison. Drawing on these results, the study considered the relation between non-regular employees’ motivation and their choice of comparative referent. The study also discusses the significance of maintaining systems for transferring from non-regular to regular employee status in order to improve motivation in non-regular employees who make upward comparisons.

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