Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Incentive Factors Affecting Productivity of Public Servants in Ogun State: Evidence from Ado-Ota Local Government Area

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Incentive Factors Affecting Productivity of Public Servants in Ogun State: Evidence from Ado-Ota Local Government Area

Article excerpt


The theoretical justification for the actualization of public sector goals is premised on the notion that those under the sector's employment should be imbued with the spirit of selfless service. However, this has become a theoretical fad based on the findings of a cross sectional study which sought to know the extent to which financial and non-financial incentives affected the productivity of different groups of public servants in Ado-Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State. Based on the study's results, three types of public servants were identified and described. These are the "deadwoods", "egocentric servants" and "loyal servants". While the deadwoods and egocentric servants are the misfits of the public sector; only the loyal servants are apt for jobs in the public sector. Consequently, recommendations were offered on how the sector could attract and retain those that are most suitable for its employment. Also, directions for future research with respect to confirming the veracity of the study's findings were provided.

Key Woods: Performance Incentives, Public Service, Productivity, Loyal Servants.


The use of performance incentives dates back to the era of scientific management movement, which was championed by Frederick Taylor in the early 20th century to resolve the problem of soldiering at work. Since then, the private sector in most countries has continued to employ performance incentives with a view to raising the productivity of their workers.

While research on the impact of incentives on employees' productivity has been a prominent area of interest in human resource management; it has been largely ignored by public sector scholars (Behn, 1995; Reilly, 2003). This may have been occasioned by the fact that the goals of the public sector is different from those of the private sector; and contemporary scholars of public administration believe that while private sector employees are motivated to maximize their own utilities, public sector employees should seek to maximize the social welfare of the people in society (Wright, 2000). In other words, employees in the public sector should possess a motivational need for public service. This is referred to as public service motivation (March and Olsen, 1989; Perry, 2000; Wright, 2000). What this implies is that, incentives that are directed towards the self aggrandizement of private sector employees would not apply to public servants.

However, past research has shown that low productivity is recorded in almost all public sector organizations in Nigeria (Mbogu, 2001; Ezulike, 2001; Iheriohanma, 2006); and findings from other studies do reveal that the low productivity associated with Nigeria's public servants could be raised if they are provided with some financial incentives ( Tongo, 2005)

However, while these studies have shown the importance of financial incentives in boosting the productivity of public servants in Nigeria; little or nothing is known about the extent to which nonfinancial incentives could also be utilized in achieving the same purpose.

It is on this note that the present article becomes relevant. Employing both the financial and non- financial incentives of Locke's (1968) goal setting theory of motivation; the article sets out to know whether both types of incentives affect the productivity profile of a sample of workers in Ado-Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State.

As a background to the study, the article begins with a discussion on public service motivation. This will be followed by a presentation of past research outcomes in the area of incentives and productivity linkages. The research methods deployed by the study shall come next and then the discussion of research findings would be treated thereafter. In the final section, recommendations and directions for future research would be presented.

Literature Support for the Concept of Public Service Motivation

In reviewing the literature on public administration, it is apparent that many scholars believe that individuals who work in the public service are different in their motivations for work in comparison to individuals who work in the for- profit, private sector. …

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