Motivation of Public Service Officials

Published on 17 Nov 2014

Years of declining public service morale in many countries make the prospect of a public service workforce being able to deliver an increasingly complex agenda on reduced budgets unlikely. Yet the public sector is critical to international development. It is thus important to restore motivation in the public service to achieve UNDP’s post- 2015 Sustainable Development Goals.


This paper is directed at practitioners, and pulls out key lessons based on evidence from selected research, underscoring the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and providing examples and principles to attract and retain motivated frontline public service officials. Anecdotes are gleaned from reports to help illustrate principles of motivation, the use of incentives, and their impact on outcomes.

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