Leadership Institute


Date of this Version



Published in Management and Organization Review 6:1 (2010), pp. 31–54; doi: 10.1111/j.1740-8784.2009.00173.x Copyright © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Used by permission.


This study compares East Asians’ evaluations of task and maintenance inputs in reward allocation decisions and examines the effects that inequity in various types of inputs and rewards have on fairness judgments. Based on a sample of 587 employees from various organizations in Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea, we find that Hong Kong Chinese and South Korean employees are more likely to want their organizations and supervisors to emphasize maintenance inputs, while Japanese employees value task inputs in reward allocation. Results also show that there are significant country differences in fairness judgments associated with various types of inputs. For example, the positive relationship between pay level and perceived fairness of pay is significantly stronger when task contributions are high rather than low among Japanese employees but not among Hong Kong and South Korean employees. The concept of independent self-construal (similar to individualism at the societal level) seems to provide an adequate account of the country differences in choice of input preferences but not fairness judgments.