Rejuvenating the rewards typology: Qualitative insights into reward preferences

Janine A. Victor, Crystal Hoole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Orientation: In order to drive desirable behaviour, employees need to feel valued. It is, therefore, important to identify which rewards motivate employees and satisfy their needs. Research purpose: The overarching aims of this study were to explore how South African employees feel rewarded at work and to develop a model depicting how rewards can be categorised. Motivation for the study: There is a dearth of qualitative research on reward preferences, especially on the psychological façade of this construct. Research approach/design and method: Using a phenomenological research approach and in-depth interviewing techniques, 47 South African employees participated in focus group sessions. To analyse the data, a deductive and constructionist thematic analysis was employed. Main findings: The rewards construct is perceived to be multidimensional. Rewards can be categorised into three main categories: (1) extrinsic financial rewards (consisting of the total remuneration package), (2) extrinsic non-financial rewards (inclusive of good relationships, learning and development opportunities, organisational culture, communication, recognition, the physical working environment, feedback and work-life balance) and intrinsic-psychological rewards (encapsulating autonomy, meaningful work, felt competence, task enjoyment and challenging work). Practical/managerial implications: Outdated reward strategies should be re-evaluated to include all three categories of rewards. This means that there should also be a more in-depth focus on intrinsic-psychological rewards in the workplace. Contribution/value-add: This study highlighted the importance of using extrinsic (financial and non-financial) as well as intrinsic-psychological rewards to motivate employees and satisfy their needs. The insights gained from this research study can be used by future researchers and practitioners to construct modernised rewards frameworks.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera1880
JournalSA Journal of Industrial Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Extrinsic financial rewards
  • Extrinsic non-financial rewards
  • Intrinsic-psychological rewards
  • Job satisfaction
  • Qualitative research
  • Reward preferences
  • Work motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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