Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Motivation is rarely used as a diversity management strategy, and as a result, little academic research explores the relationship between generational age differences and motivation in public sector management. Using Deci's intrinsic and extrinsic motivation theory as the foundation, the purpose of this correlational design study was to evaluate the relationship between generational age differences and employee motivation in a Maryland government agency. Data were collected through an online survey using the Work Preference Inventory from 35 of the agency's 5585 employees, born between 1946 and 2000. Data were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance with post-hoc tests to assess the relationship between the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y. Findings of the ANOVA revealed that there were no statistically significant associations between the 3 generational cohorts regarding intrinsic or extrinsic motivations suggesting that there are no differences among the 3 generations in terms of preferences. However, an analysis of correlations between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for both Baby Boomers and Generation X were strongly positive at r = .862 and .602 respectively, but strongly negative for Generation Y at r = -0.856. One of the social change implications stemming from this study is the recommendation for public organizations to explore a blend of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to attract and enhance the longevity of members of each generational group in the public sector. This provides a more balanced and cost effective approach in sustaining generational diversity in the sector through employee motivation. This will benefit the general public because they could receive efficient services offered with minimal personnel cost.