1.1Adam’s equity theory

Equity theory takes a step toward placing motivation more squarely in a social context. “The central assumption of equity theory is that employees are motivated when their inputs (e.g., effort, knowledge, skill, loyalty) are matched by outcomes (e.g., pay, bonuses, benefits, recognition), which creates a sense of equity or fairness. When outcomes do not match inputs, the resulting perceptions of inequity lead to distress, which motivates employees to take action to reduce it. When employees feel under-rewarded, they may restore perceived equity by reducing their inputs (slacking off), attempting to reduce others’ inputs (convincing coworkers to do less work, or sabotaging their efforts to be productive), seeking to increase their outcomes (asking for a raise or vacation time), or aiming to decrease coworkers’ outcomes (asking them to take a pay cut or lobbying the boss to standardize salaries)” (Adams, 1965).

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