The role of motivation in government reform: A comparative analysis of executives in the public, nonprofit, and for -profit sectors
In recent and past governmental reform efforts, private business sector values of economy, efficiency, and productivity collide with more traditional public sector values such as equity, duty, and patriotism. But despite well-established literature on the public/private distinction, we still know very little about individual executives, their motivation, congruence with their organization's values, and their job satisfaction. This study draws from the theoretical bases of organizational behavior, organizational theory, public administration, and management to examine the differences among these executives. This research advances work done in previous studies in numerous ways. First, unlike earlier efforts, this exploration incorporates a cross-sector comparison of personal value structures as correlated with the individual's perception of their organization's values. This inquiry also attempts to determine the differences among, and the correlations between, multiple measures of motivation, personal and organizational values (organizational fit), and job satisfaction within the sector where the executive currently works. If there are indeed differences among executives, we should expect to see marked discrepancies in their motivations, value congruency with their organizations, and levels of job satisfaction. The cohort population for this research is comprised of chief executive officers in the public, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors of US hospitals. Survey recipients are drawn from a simple random sample of hospitals from the American Hospital Association Guide to the Health Care Field - 1998--99 Edition. The final return rate was 33.3%. Results indicate significant differences in job satisfaction levels, intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, and selected measures of organizational value congruence. Sector preference and overall value congruence were strong for all sectors. Finally, public sector executives showed statistically higher levels of motivation for most public service related variables. The findings suggest we are at a critical point with government reform. Even though the prospect of entrepreneurialism in government reform, along with its link to the private sector, offers exciting opportunities for the government, it offers challenges as well. Care must be taken by reformers to recognize the differences in motives and needs of those with whom they enjoin to serve the public.