ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 50 ›› Issue (12): 1428-1437.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01428

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The influence and mechanism of external environment resource scarcity on employees remuneration preference

SHAO Jianping,HAN Xue,LIU Wumei()   

  1. School of Management, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • Received:2018-05-28 Published:2018-12-25 Online:2018-10-30


The external environment resources such as employment and natural resources (water, air, and biodiversity) on which human kind is dependent are becoming scarcer and less available. Whether the scarcity of these resources will affect employees' preference on both time and money remuneration thus arouse the attention of public interest. Meanwhile, the extant research of organizational behavior and human resources both at home and abroad seldom covers the issue, despite the evident theoretical value and practical significance of the issue. Aiming at the question, while being are exposed to a situation of resource scarcity (i.e. employment resources and natural resources), will people’s choice preferences to time and money change? Based on the theories of Life History, this paper explores the phenomenon, medication and moderation mechanism of employees’ remuneration preference for time and money in the case of different types of resources scarcity.

This paper tests the hypotheses by conducting two experiments. In Experiment 1, where external job resources are primed to be scarce, a external resource scarcity (resource scarcity vs. not resource scarcity vs. control) is used in the one factor between-subjects design, with the choice between time and money as dependent variables. This experiment aims to test whether resource scarcity affects employee’s choice between monetary reward and time remuneration. Experiment 1 is laboratory experiments with college students as sample, with the aim to test the mediation of mental representation and the moderation of materialistic values. Experiment 2, in which external natural resources are primed to be scarce, uses an external resource scarcity (resource scarcity vs. not resource scarcity vs. control) in the one factor between-subjects design, with the choice between time and money as dependent variables. For Experiment 2, a field experiment is used with employees as a sample to test their remuneration preference in business practice.

By the results from Experiments 1 and 2, it is observed that, in comparison to the no-scarcity condition and the baseline condition, a significant percentage of participants in the external resources scarcity condition chose monetary rewards rather than time rewards. This phenomenon occurred because when exposed to a resource scarcity situation, participants’ mental representation becomes more concrete, where they choose concrete monetary remuneration. And it is also found out that individual differences in materialistic value do matters, where those employees scoring low in materialism value scale do not prefer monetary remuneration although they were exposed to a resource-scarcity situation.

Through the testing of whether, how and when the different types of resource scarcity will influence employees’ monetary versus time remuneration preference, this paper provides a useful reference to existing organizational behavior researches in studies of time and money preference and on resource scarcity. And the paper has also potential usage in human resource and business practice.

Key words: remuneration preference for time and money, resource scarcity, psychological representation, materialistic values

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