Managing for motivation as public performance improvement strategy in education & far beyond

Autor(es): Honig, Dan

Date: 2022

Pages: 51 p.


People management has an important role to play in improving public agency performance. This paper argues that a ‘Route Y’ managerial approach focused on supporting the empowered exercise of employee judgment will in many circumstances prove superior to conventional reform approaches steeped in ‘Route X’ monitoring and incentives. Returns to Route Y are greater when employees are or can become more “mission motivated” – that is, aligned with the goals of the agency in the absence of monitoring and extrinsic incentives. Returns to Route Y are also greater when monitoring is incomplete or otherwise likely to unproductively distort effort, thus lowering the returns to using performance-linked rewards and penalties. I argue that education systems are one (but far from the only) setting where Route Y is a lever worth focusing on in efforts to improve public performance in the developed and developing world alike.

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