Date of Conferral







Karla Phlypo


Budget constraints will cause federal furloughs to continue through 2035. Federal furloughs such as the one in 2012-2013, affected 800,000 out of 2.7 million federal employees. This dramatic workforce reduction caused remaining employees to experience stress and morale issues in the workplace. The purpose of the research was to understand how managers comprehend and experience the impact of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation on remaining employees' performance and attitudes during the furlough process. The theoretical foundation and conceptual framework were designed using both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation concepts and theories. Aspects of self-determination theory and hierarchy motivation theory were used to describe intrinsic motivational concepts. Extrinsic workplace motivation was described through expectancy theory, equity theory, and goal-setting theory. The overarching question addressed the lived experiences of 15 government managers to understand their perceptions on employee motivation during a furlough in the workplace through a hermeneutic phenomenological approach. Through the use of Flick's method of data analysis, 5 themes emerged from the interviews with the participants. The most notable results described the perceptions that managers had about their challenges in maintaining employee motivation and trust in an organization where the managers felt powerless. Recommendations may support positive social change by enabling more local control for managers and to develop and implement policies and procedures to support motivation of employees. Additionally, this study outcomes may lead to sensitizing national leaders to the detrimental effects of furloughs and the impact to employees and their families.