Motivation and Satisfaction Among Public Sector Employees

February 1, 2013


A great deal of attention has recently been placed on employee engagement and related concepts such as motivation, satisfaction and performance. Almost without exception, discussion of these concepts has pertained to private industry, particularly service industries in which employee performance is instrumental for success. In this study, the Forum addresses the quality of employee experiences in a public sector setting. The objective of this study is to identify the workplace and employee characteristics that relate to the levels of motivation and satisfaction of public service employees. The study took place in an Employment Counseling department of a single Midwestern state.

The public sector presents particular challenges with respect to management, motivation and employee performance. Managers are often required to operate with limited administrative practices, limited resources for training, employee development and salary increases, restrictions on the ability to reassign or replace employees, and little or no usage of recognition and reward programs to motivate employees. Given this situation, substantial opportunity exists to enhance public sector workers’ experiences through by understanding employee motivation and satisfaction.

(Please visit our "Also See" section to the right for the full PDF of the Research Report.)


"Motivation and Satisfaction Among Public Sector Employees." Frank Mulhern and Jenna Massey, Northwestern University; February 2013.

Comments   1 comment(s)

cent joseph June 12, 2015 2:45pm ET

This is an excellent and much needed article. One additional suggestion I might add is to effectively delegate projects or tasks that help employees develop professionally and give them a sense of participation and accomplishment. This, of course, is followed by that thank you that you mentioned.
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