Crowding effects of public service motivation and task motivation among Danish physiotherapists
Public employees work for many other reasons than because they are paid for it. In other words, intrinsic motivation is an important determinant for their performance. Nonetheless, public sector organizations increasingly rely on extrinsic motivation factors such as monetary incentives to motivate employees. Motivation crowding theory claims that this may be at the expense of intrinsic motivation, if the extrinsic motivation factor is perceived to be controlling. On the other hand, intrinsic motivation will be enhanced (crowded in), if the extrinsic motivation factor is perceived to be supportive. Studies have found support for the motivation crowding claim, but have neglected intrinsic motivation. This study opens the black box of intrinsic motivation and finds a meaningful distinction between task motivation and public service motivation. Among 2,772 physiotherapists in the Danish public sector, monetary incentives are found to cause different crowding effects for these different types of intrinsic motivation. The results call for more theoretical work on the drivers of motivation crowding effects and for practitioners to pay more attention to what type of intrinsic motivation is at stake, when they plan to implement monetary incentives.