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Careless Money Admirers (30.16%) have general positive feelings toward money but they do not Budget their money carefully. They tend to have a moderate level of organization-based self-esteem, work ethic, and intrinsic satisfaction. They also seem to have a moderately high level of satisfaction with safety needs and social needs. The behavioral aspect of the Money Ethic Scale (i.e., Factor Budget) seems to play an important role in several aspects of satisfaction in life. Tang (1992) found that those who Budget money carefully tend to have higher work satisfaction and life satisfaction. They exert effort and try very hard to make money. It is plausible that people in this cluster can be highly motivated by money.
Apathetic Money Handlers believe that money does not represent their Achievement and Respect but they do Budget their money carefully. In the present study, all participants were university students. This is one of the major reasons that Apathetic Money Hander is the largest group in the present sample. Our results reflect the money attitudes in the eye of students: Students do not have a lot of money, do not believe that money is a sign of their Achievement and Respect, and do Budget their money carefully, for the little money they have. Luna-Arocas and Tang (1999) assert that on the basis of the discrepancy notion of satisfaction (Lawler, 1971), people may experience a high level of dissatisfaction when they have high expectations toward money. With low income, they turn their attention internally and find fulfillment in life and on the job. Our results reveal that they have the highest level of satisfaction with their physiological needs and safety needs (lower-order needs). As mentioned earlier, Achieving Money Worshipers have the highest level of satisfaction with social and self-actualization needs (higher-order needs). Apathetic Money Handlers’ low desire for money may lead to higher satisfaction in different aspects of their lives, supporting the insufficient justification effect (Staw, 1976). This reflects a similar position—“waste not, want not”. Apathetic Money Handlers are poor but happy. Their basic needs are satisfied. Money will only help them survive and have a reasonable life. To them, money is only a hygiene factor, not a motivator. They may be highly motivated by money when they work longer and are older.
Money Repellers have the most negative attitudes toward money and believe that money is Evil. It is interesting to note that about 15.54% of students are in this cluster. Money Repellers have the lowest level of organization-based self-esteem, the Protestant Work Ethic, intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction, importance of needs (physiological, safety, self-esteem, and self-actualization needs) and satisfaction of needs (physiological, safety, social, and self-actualization needs). They may be labeled as the “sour grapes” or “sour losers” in the society. It is possible that money is not a motivator for them (cf. Lawler, 1971) but a hygiene factor (Herzberg et al., 1959). Tang (1992) pointed out that young and low-income people tend to believe that money is Evil. Thus, the present results seem to support previous findings.
In recent years, many people in the USA and around the world are increasingly concerned about their income, pay, and materialism. Many so-called “successful young couples” now have two well-paying jobs, a big five-bedroom home, and two healthy kids, yet they do not have time to enjoy simple pleasures like riding bikes or reading. McNichol (1998) asserts that a small but growing number of Americans is living on less and liking it by scaling back, paring down, and doing without. The “simplicity movement” has “its roots in 18th century ‘Yankee frugality’ and in Henry David Thoreau’s urge to ‘simplify, simplify” (McNichol, 1998, p. 4). This message has appeared in recent books (e.g., Simple Abundance and Your Money or Your Life) and PBS special (Affluenza, Escape From Affluenza). In a simple, less stressful, and enviously uncluttered life, people can live on far less by curbing impulse spending and do the things that matter to them. Our Apathetic Money Handlers seem to have adopted these values. This is the largest cluster of the four with 31.08% of the people.
As we discussed earlier, money attitudes can be perceived from three perspectives: the person, the environment, and the interaction between the person and the environment. First, according to Arvey et al. (1989) and Staw et al. (1986), people bring many attitudes and dispositional (personality) variables to work. These attitudes and values are very difficult to change and tend to be quite consistent even when individuals change both the employer and their occupation. Following these arguments, for people with certain money profiles, it is not very likely to improve their pay satisfaction and life satisfaction in an organization. For some people, it is very difficult to motivate them with money. Therefore, it is very important to identify different approaches to motivate people with different money profiles. Second, it is also possible that people will react similarly toward the environmental variables and be highly motivated by money and the reward systems in organizations. Therefore, a large amount of money will create a strong impact on people’s work related behavior, performance, and effectiveness. Our results show that due to different money profiles, people do not consider or perceive money equally. Thus, they are not equally motivated by money and the reward systems.
Third, others suggest that attitudes toward money are formed early in their childhood and maintained in adult life (Kirkcaldy & Furnham, 1993), based on the way they were raised, social and economic background (Bruner & Goodman, 1947), and work-related experiences. Our results show that the percentage of students in each of the four money profiles is different from other sample of full-time employees. In general, students tend to have negative attitudes toward money, whereas employees have positive attitudes. It is possible that as students graduate from college and start to work, they start to work hard for their money, spend their money (i.e., consumption), and enjoy having money. Their direct experiences with money may change their money attitudes. High-income people tend to think that money is not Evil (Tang, 1992). As people grow older, their income level changes. The importance and satisfaction of needs in life (Tang & West, 1997) and their money attitudes may also change (Furnham & Argyle, 1998). It may take some time for people to progress from deficiency needs (physiological needs) to growth needs (psychological needs).
Recently, the Human Resources Research Organization conducted the 1998 income and employment survey of the membership of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) in the USA (Burnfield & Medsker, 1999). The results showed that median income (US$100,000) of the 45-49 year age group is the highest among all age groups. The median income of other age groups is listed below (i.e., < 35 group, $60,000; 35-39 group, $70,000; 40-44 group, $80,000; 50-54 group, $91,500; and 55+ group, $92,000). Previous SIOP income surveys showed that the 50-54 year age group had the same or a higher median income than the other groups. People’s income changes over time. Those in the 45-49 year age group reach their career peak in income.
Luna-Arocas and Tang (1999) found that among the four money profiles, people in the Achieving Money Worshiper Cluster were the oldest (46.49 years), had the highest income ($50,903.23), the longest work experience (21.55 years), the highest work ethic endorsement, the highest satisfaction with pay, pay administration, and equity within the university setting, and high life satisfaction. In the present study, there are no significant differences in participants’ age among the four money profiles. The average age of university students in this study is about 23.52 years old. It is possible that the majority of these students may become Achieving Money Worshipers when they become a member of the 45-50 year old age group.
People’s money attitudes may change based on their age and income. Further, people may also move from one money profile to another money profile, as their income changes. It is plausible that many people (Careless Money Admirers, in particular) may become Achieving Money Worshipers. However, we have collected only cross-sectional data from a sample of students in the USA. Future researchers may consider longitudinal data and test this hypothesis.
The human capital theory suggests that the higher the human investment, the higher the pay off. Pay is also related to the supply and demand of the market. High human investment leads to high financial reward and success. Due to their money attitudes, people may choose certain college majors and careers (i.e., school teacher, university professor, business person, doctor, lawyer, investment banker, etc.). People’s money attitudes may also change due to their experiences in college and careers.
Researchers and managers need to think long and hard and identify ways of motivating people in these four money profiles. Our results suggest that people with different money profiles have different patterns of work-related attitudes and behaviors. The four clusters of people identified in this study are quite unique and interesting. It is quite common that we may find people with these four money profiles in their organizations. In the wake of global competition, organizations are increasingly interested in reducing labor costs and increasing worker productivity. Our understanding of money profiles and work-related attitudes may help managers identify different motivational programs to motive employees and achieve organizational goals. Future research needs to replicate these findings in other occupations, regions, and cultures to test the generalizability of the present findings and investigate other variables.
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Mean, Standard Deviation, and Correlation of Major Variables
Note. N = 562. Income: N = 363. Sex: Male = 0, Female = 1; Importance of Needs: Variables 16-20. Satisfaction of Needs: Variables 21-25.
*p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.
Means (and Standard Deviations) of the Money Ethic Scale for the Four Clusters
Note. *p < .05; Scheffe’s test. For each Factor (row) of the Money Ethic Scale, the highest and lowest means are in boldface. The lowest means are underlined.
Means of the External Variables for Cluster Validation
Variables Cluster 1 Cluster 2 Cluster 3 Cluster 4
Money Apathetic Careless Achieving
Repeller Money Money Money
Handler Admirer Worshiper
N = 547 n = 85 n = 170 n = 165 n = 127 Cluster Paired
Percentage (%) 15.54% 31.08% 30.16% 23.22% Comparisons*
Age 23.33 23.91 23.19 23.24
Education 14.43 14.77 14.44 14.98
Tenure 28.29 19.11 31.75 29.92
Income 6,432.38 9,192.48 9,433.13 11,071.17
OBSE 33.71 40.43 38.39 40.81 4, 2, 3 > 1
PWE 13.08 15.00 14.48 16.11 4 > 2, 3 > 1
MSQ-Int 39.39 44.05 43.01 46.23 4, 2 > 3 > 1
MSQ-Ext 18.00 19.27 19.09 21.53 4 > 2, 3, 1
Importance of Needs
Physiological 3.31 3.60 3.64 3.88 4 > 1
Safety 3.45 3.79 3.83 4.01 4 > 1
Social 3.69 4.01 3.93 3.96
Self-Esteem 3.39 3.88 3.77 4.07 4, 2, 3 > 1
Actualization 3.51 4.12 3.88 4.12 2, 4 > 1
Satisfaction of Needs
Physiological 3.76 4.19 4.01 4.14 2, 4 > 1
Safety 3.38 4.07 3.87 4.02 2, 4, 3 > 1
Social 3.24 3.70 3.74 3.86 4, 3, 2 > 1
Self-Esteem 3.09 3.30 3.42 3.43
Actualization 3.12 3.33 3.42 3.57 4 > 1
Note. *p < .05; Scheffe’s test. Foe each Factor (row) of the Money Ethic Scale, the highest and lowest means are in boldface. The lowest means are underlined.
Pooled Within-Groups Correlations
Between Discriminating Variables and
Standardized Canonical Discriminant Standardized Canonical Discriminant
Function Coefficients Functions
Variable 1 2 3 Variable 1 2 3
Age -.052 -.056 .040 Good .842* -.399 -.192
Sex .012 -.120 .029 Power .525* .294 -.091
Education -.042 .071 .299 PWE .175* -.054 .096
Good .765 -.639 -.143 OBSE .170* -.146 -.138
Evil .094 -.094 .350 MSQ-Int .130* -.042 -.102
Achievement .240 .426 .291 MSQ-Ext .130* .024 .106
Respect .224 .518 .004 Self-Esteem-I .118* -.025 -.021
Budget .025 -.429 .626 Safety-I .094* .005 -.069
Power .268 .329 -.154 Physiological-I .091* .014 .004
OBSE .041 .008 -.139 Self-Actualization-S .091* .014 .004
PWE .013 .074 .173 Respect .420 .567* .075
MSQ-Int -.043 .172 -.437 Achievement .417 .444* .311
MSQ-Ext .058 -.137 .311 Sex -.087 -.176* .038
Physiological-I -.078 .029 .223 Self-Actualization-I .106 -.110* .019
Safety-I .040 .073 -.259 Physiological-S .073 -.100* -.090
Social-I -.077 .220 .106 Budget .131 -.317 .555*
Self-Esteem-I -.013 -.039 .158 Evil -.007 .060 .474*
Self-Actualization-I .102 -.119 .066 Safety-S .117 -.164 -.282*
Physiological-S -.063 .150 .439 Social-S .019 -.019 -.199*
Safety-S .016 -.250 -.416 Education .049 -.057 .160*
Social-S .036 .056 -.244 Self-Esteem-S .048 -.003 -.138*
Self-Esteem-S -.194 -.094 -.353 Social-I .033 -.038 -.059*
Self-Actualization-S .169 .117 .316 Age .001 -.009 .043*
Eigenvalue 2.762 1.345 .154
Canonical Correlation .857 .757 .365
Functions at Group Centroids
Cluster 1 -3.014 1.143 .474
Cluster 2 -.208 -1.646 .059
Cluster 3 -.095 .649 -.533
Cluster 4 2.544 .767 .367
Note. Coefficients greater than .40 are in boldface. Variables ordered by absolute size of correlations within function. *Largest absolute correlation between each variable and any discriminant function.
Predicted Group Membership
Actual Group No. of Cases 1 2 3 4
Group 1 63 58 3 2 0
92.1% 4.8% 3.2% .0%
Group 2 139 0 127 11 1
.0% 91.4% 7.9% .7%
Group 3 34 6 7 118 3
4.5% 5.2% 88.1% 2.2%
Group 4 91 0 2 1 88
.0% 2.2% 1.1% 96.7%
Note. 91.57% of original grouped cases correctly classified.
Thumbnail Sketches for the Four Clusters (Money Profiles)
Cluster 1 Cluster 2
Money Repeller Apathetic Money Handler
Factor Good—The Lowest Factor Good—High
Factor Respect—Moderate Factor Respect—The Lowest
Factor Achievement—Low Factor Achievement—The Lowest
Factor Power—The Lowest Factor Power—Moderate
Factor Budget—Low Factor Budget—The Highest
Factor Evil—The Highest Factor Evil—Low
OBSE—The Lowest OBSE—High
Work Ethic—The Lowest Work Ethic—Moderate
MSQ-Intrinsic—The Lowest MSQ-Intrinsic—High
MSQ-Extrinsic—The Lowest MSQ-Extrinsic—Low
Importance of Needs Importance of Needs
Physiological, Safety—The Lowest Physiological, Safety—Moderate
Self-Esteem— The Lowest Self-Esteem—High
Self-Actualization—The Lowest Self-Actualization—High
Satisfaction of Needs
Physiological, Safety, Social —The Lowest Physiological, Safety, Social—High
Self-Actualization—The Lowest Self-Actualization—Moderate
Cluster 3 Cluster 4
Careless Money Admirer Achieving Money Worshiper
Factor Good—Moderate Factor Good—The Highest
Factor Respect—Moderate Factor Respect—The Highest
Factor Achievement—Moderate Factor Achievement—The Highest
Factor Power—Moderate Factor Power—The Highest
Factor Budget—The Lowest Factor Budget—High
Factor Evil—The Lowest Factor Evil—High
OBSE—High OBSE—the Highest
Work Ethic—Moderate Work Ethic—The Highest
MSQ-Intrinsic—Moderate MSQ-Intrinsic—The Highest
MSQ-Extrinsic—Low MSQ-Extrinsic—The Highest
Importance of Needs Importance of Needs
Physiological, Safety—Moderate Physiological, Safety—The Highest
Self-Esteem—High Self-Esteem—The Highest
Satisfaction of Needs
Safety, Social—High Safety, Social—High