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Motivating Public Employees
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Motivating Public Employees

What motivates public employees to work hard? This Element systematically reviews answers from public administration research. The authors locate this research in a novel two-dimensional typology, which shows that public employees can be motivated for other- and self-interested reasons and extrinsic (motivated by outcomes) and intrinsic (motivated by work itself) reasons. Public administration research sheds significant light on extrinsic motivators: working hard to help society (public service motivation), one's organization (organizational commitment) and oneself (financial incentives). Future research should focus on hitherto understudied motivators: symbolic rewards and intrinsic motivators, such as enjoyable work tasks, warm glow, and relatedness with colleagues. Supplementary material for this Element is available online.

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