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Motivation In Public Service

Motivation in public service

Enhancing the Performance of Public Servants

The term motivation is derived from the Latin word ‘movere’ meaning ‘to move’. This is the most typical term and is considered an internal part of an organism that impels or drives it to action. It can be said that motivation is energizer of behaviour but researchers differ on the variations of this term; some thrust upon specific goal(s) behind motivation while some consider it a generalized energizer without having any specific goal or drive.

It’s a common understanding that being a psychological process it energizes or encourages an individual to achieve his or her formulated goals. Therefore, it’s a kind of general term that applies on different words used to describe motivation including: drives, desires, needs, wishes or other similar forces that are behind any individual’s act for the achievement of his own set goals.

In public service, motivation of a public servant is connected with his work performance or, in other words, it reflects how motivated a person is. A person who is highly motivated performs much better than a person who is not; again depending on a number of factors that work behind every individual. Abraham Maslow is known mostly for his need hierarchy theory which explains the process of motivation in terms of hierarchy of human needs. These basic needs are: psychological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization needs. The reasons such as morality, altruism, etc., are lesser motivational forces in our environment. However, only motivation cannot be sufficient, if there is no ability. So, combination of both skills and an urge to work can only yield the desired results.

In public service, the discrimination in giving rewards with utter disregard to “who did what” compromises the whole edifice of motivation theory. Those at the helm of affairs see the things from distant angle and the policy of favouritism for rewarding the kith and kin destroys the motivational force of others. The intrinsic motivation is closely connected with extrinsic motivation,. Rewarding a work-shirker compels a willing worker to think seriously on realigning his own goals.

The organizational culture is badly affected by suppressing the legitimate desires and drives of those who expect reward as a result of adopting a particular behavioural change meant to increase his or her performance and over all objectives of an organization.

Promoting an individual against merit — as is understood in official parlance — gives way to legal course of action to affected ones. This, in turn, brings in drive reduction for others that is evident from the huge number of cases pending with the competent forum since years. Peace of mind is another important factor in motivating an individual to exploit maximum of his potential toward achieving the overall objectives of an organization. Such actions in public service can be explained by cognitive dissonance theory in the sense that despite violating the merit how one can expect the smooth achievement of goals from the dissatisfied members of organization.
In our context, salary is one of the most prominent exogenous factors in motivating an individual in public service. But, unfortunately, it is never commensurate with the existing economic conditions, and instead of serving as a motivational factor, it demoralizes the individuals. The brain drain surges due to the de-motivating forces attached with meagre pay and emoluments offered to new talent. A newly-recruited civil servant is not paid even sufficient to meet his own personal expenses. In that case, one cannot expect desired results from a government functionary.

While considering any scheme of reforming civil service, prime importance should be given to bring salary and allowances of the government functionaries at par with those in the private sector so that they may be held accountable for not improving the standard of governance. Pay is a motivator to organizational goals, therefore, a sound salary plan is very essential for efficient functioning of the civil service in a developing country like Pakistan.

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