Reflections on the generalization of agency theory: Cross-cultural considerations

Nancy Brown Johnson, Scott Droege

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Agency theory assumes that employees and employers have different goals, act in a self-interested manner, and are willing to assume varying degrees of risk. In this paper, we argue that cultural differences may attenuate those assumptions and thereby temper agency theory predictions. Culture may align goals between employers and employees, change a company's preference for behavior- versus outcome-based pay, require higher incentives before employees will accept outcome-based pay, and lower the moral hazard concerns associated with outcome-based pay. Based on those arguments, we develop propositions that can be tested empirically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-335
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Resource Management Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Agency theory
  • Behavior- and outcome-based pay
  • Culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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