Need satisfaction management strategies: Motivating designers in mainland China

Yuet Kai Chan, Chi Fai Henry Ma

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Creative industries emphasize human creativity and intellectual abilities. Studies found that most organizations in China’s creative sector failed to establish appropriate motivation strategies that are conducive to creative performance. This study is a cross-disciplinary study, which investigated the organizations’ management and designers’ behaviour in China’s creative industries with mixed methods to answer the research questions. The results lead to a deeper understanding of designers’ needs for motivation and a tangible motivation model for business management to imply. A conceptual framework has been developed as the basis of this research. 41 in-depth interviews were conducted for collecting information about the current motivation methods in China’s creative industries, and their effectiveness. These interviews also revealed the actual needs of designers through finding out their preferred motivators. 396 valid online questionnaires were received from managers and designers to further measure the perceived priorities of the motivators found in the in-depth interviews. The results indicated the current motivation methods focused on extrinsic motivators, while designers in China valued both extrinsic motivators like monetary rewards and intrinsic motivators like recognition. It also revealed the current management strategies are less effective in motivating designers. It discovered that management strategies in China’s creative industries lack awareness about their designers’ needs. This investigation leads to the discussion about the immature ecosystem of the creative industries in China and its influence on their development. This research is an original study that enriched knowledge of the creative behaviour, which identified the key motivators of designers in China and formed a model as advice to the management and policy-makers in creative industries. They can also benefit from this understanding and gain a better insight into motivating creative employees through appropriate motivation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-133
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Design, Business and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • creativity
  • design
  • design management
  • motivation
  • need satisfaction
  • organizational behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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