By HILDEGARD F GANAK UPNG Journalism Student
New data from cutting edge research have shown that poverty reduction in developing countries cannot be achieved without first resolving issues affecting workers in organizations.
Leo Marai, a Psychology Research Academic at the University of Papua New Guinea and a leading scholar of psychology in Oceania says workers' psychological issues must be resolved so they can perform competently in their organization and contribute to development which will in turn help reduce poverty.
Mr. Marai, who is also a coordinator of the international research project 'Are Development Discrepancies Undermining Performance (ADDUP)?' said results from experimental tests on workers from aid administering agencies in six developing countries have shown that salary differences among locals and expatriates affects a worker's motivation and performance.
He said local workers may feel inferior or think there is racism because they share the same position or qualification. Mr. Marai said such pay inequalities have a double de-motivating impact on employees affecting both locals and expatriates.
He said low motivation affects work efficiency of employees and in turn they do not perform to their best whilst in the case of aid workers, they will not be able to fully execute their duties and responsibilities in administering aid. Mr. Marai said aid effectiveness can be achieved if human factors such as pay inequalities are resolved.
He said for too long strategies of reducing poverty have been based on economical and political views but now research has shown that the problem is also psychological.
The project 'Are Development Discrepancies undermining Performance?' or ADDUP is a breakthrough research which links poverty and psychology.
Mr. Marai said Data and findings from the research have already been compiled and ADDUP will launch its journal in July this year in Melbourne at the International Journal of Psychology Forum. He said the findings complements the PNG Government's Vision 2050 in aligning salaries.
He said from the journal, the government should be able to incorporate the findings and develop and implement policies that will execute a fair and equal pay system and enable aid effectiveness in reducing poverty.
ADDUP is a three year project jointly funded by the Economic Social Research Council of UK and the International Development Ministry of the British Government. Headed by Professor of Psychology Stewart Carr of Massey University, New Zealand, ADDUP was conducted in six developing countries including PNG, Solomon Islands, China, India, Malawi and Uganda.