University of Leuven survey finds Belgian staff who value material rewards are more likely to be dissatisfied

Workers who value material success, status and power more than helping their colleagues or developing their talents are more likely to be dissatisfied with life and are less committed at work, research has found.

A study of 885 Belgian workers by the University of Leuven found that while some employees viewed their job as an opportunity to exercise their competencies and skills and make meaningful contributions to society, others focused primarily on financial success, having influence over others, and occupying a prestigious position at work.

The workers who were motivated by material rewards, extra money or status had a negative attitude. They reported feeling exhausted and unsatisfied by work and were more likely to consider quitting than staff who were interested in self-development and growth.

This negative mindset affected employees’ mental health, and money and power-driven workers experienced more work/family conflict and dissatisfaction with life, the survey found.

Maarten Vansteenkiste, who led the research team, said: “The current ethos in many organisations is to reward workers with material benefits, but this research shows [that approach] could be counter-productive for both the organisation and the employee.”

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