The SDGs and New Public Passion

Published on 18 Nov 2015

What really motivates the civil service?

This discussion paper builds on three of our recent publications – two issues of our ‘Notes on Public Service Excellence’ - From New Public Management to New Public Passion and Public Service Motivation and the SDGs) and our working paper on Work in the Public Service of the Future.


It looks at ways of reinvigorating a sense that public service matters, and leveraging the factors that engage public officials in their work. The public service is the backbone of development in any country. Yet in government agencies across the world, this backbone has become increasingly weakened by falling morale.

In addition to possessing the right skills required, employee motivation, commitment, job satisfaction and work stress are important factors that affect public service employee performance. These in turn play an important role in determining organisational performance. Enabling and encouraging officials to fulfil their role as stewards of the public good can help to transform public services and give people the honest and responsive public institutions they deserve. Transformed public services run by motivated public servants would ensure that most countries meet the SDGs.

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