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Public Policy and Administration


Cassandra Caldwell


Worker motivation is relevant to public sector leaders because motivated workers are more efficient and productive, demonstrate positive behaviors, and are happier. Scholars have focused on differing approaches on how to incentivise public service employees using extrinsic or intrinsic incentives. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the value and effectiveness of mission valence and other intrinsic means used to influence employee motivation and productivity. Using Festinger'€™s cognitive dissonance theory as a guide, a homogeneous group of key participants was interviewed with the intent of answering research questions. The research questions focused on mission valence deployment and on the incentive preferences of 11 purposely selected members of a public sector executive management team. The study incorporated the Giorgi method of data analysis. Following inductive coding procedures, the findings were synthesised into five themes. Findings suggested that mission valence has theoretical appeal to public service leaders, but the antecedent conditions, such as current mission statements have not been implemented. Thus, mission valence within PSGD is a conceptual intrinsic incentive at this point in time. Public service leaders prefer fluidity in crafting blended extrinsic and intrinsic incentive models that are unique to each employee. Consequently, opportunities exist for development of targeted skills development training to supplement existing leadership skills. This aligns with the implications for positive social change because the findings of this study yielded information concerning social, psychological, and motivational nuances and learning that may shape the next generation of public service leaders.

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