Factors Motivating Human Resources Management (HRM) in the Public and Private Sectors


It is not sufficient to depend on education institutions’ traditional systems and curriculums only then on real cases based on real-life work and applying any new techniques in its curriculum. It is important to note that the human resources motivation system has a great impact on the effectiveness of institutions. Schools, universities should focus more on building human resources management (HRM) concepts and understanding. This paper aims to identify the factors that play a major role in HRM in both the public and private sectors. The paper is based on the continued discussions regarding the topic of this paper. It is provided a comprehensive look at the motivation factor as a vital element among HRM factors. The findings provided by this paper attempt to provide an understanding of the motivation factors that affecting human resource management in todays world. Based on reviewing the related manuscripts in order to achieve the study’s intended purpose and providing confirmation findings for this study, the study findings and conclusions are presented. However, still the nature of organizations job will always play the essential key for HR specialists for him to decide on the proper motivation system. The study reported that social security, insurance, appropriate working conditions, equipped workplace, the possibility to improve constantly are found to be the most effective motivating means. On contrary, the least effective motivating means are onetime payout prescribed, awards, bonuses, nominal gift.

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Omar, K. (2021) Factors Motivating Human Resources Management (HRM) in the Public and Private Sectors. Open Journal of Business and Management, 9, 688-700. doi: 10.4236/ojbm.2021.92036.

1. Introduction

The topic of employee motivation plays a central role in the field of management both practically and theoretically. Managers see motivation as an integral part of the performance equation at all levels, while organizational researchers see it as a fundamental building block in the development of useful theories of effective management practice (Steers & Mowday, 2014). Indeed, human resource management history is an old concept and complex. There is no doubt that human resource management is the principal asset possessed by any organization. It is the heart of any organization where strategists, plans and actions are prepared and took place by its teams. Today’s world becomes more challenging and required more efforts and focus from the public and private sectors in terms of human capital. There are some factors that should be considered when it comes to human resource development. Public awareness is one of the most important factors, it is an issue that has taken enormous research work; several authors have given it a big effort in order to find out the factors that might affect this issue in order to understand it and therefore enhance the Institutional performance.

Generally, the desire of internal motivation for individuals is to find and help achieve an easy process (Omar, Arbab, & Abdulrahman, 2018). It is important to encourage individuals to expand their capacity to meet the demands of the organization. Institutions have to work side by side on their individuals’ needs and the needs of the Institutions should be responsible for staff to work with them, and encourage managers and staff to explore the need for a good start to attract them to deal with any work dilemma they might face, as well as a guide. They face every challenge in the workplace and motivation that drove people to achieve their goals and objectives of the organization considered as an advantage for themselves obliged to follow the specified address. This paper intended to study the factors motivating human resources management. These elements could have an effect on employees’ performance. As a matter of fact, dealing with demotivated and overworked people is one of the most common challenges that the institution’s management faces which is the essence of this study.

2. Human Resource Management Objectives and Philosophies

Based on Harvard and British Human Resource Management Schools of business has been cited by Torrington and Hall (1991: p. 15), Josepht (2011), Farnham and Pimlott (1992), they suggest that there are six elements on which human resource management philosophy and practices are grounded for, these elements are:

➢ Ownership: Human resource management is and has to be owned and driven by the top management in the interests of the key stakeholders. The stakeholders include shareholders, the managing board, the workers, clients and customers. This is unlike the old tradition in which personnel management functions were mostly vested in designated officers under a personnel department. Under human resource management, the philosophy is that the top management owns and drives the agenda for effective people management in an organization.

➢ Business or organizational strategies form the basis for human resource strategies, and there should be a strategic fit. This opposes putting emphasis on routine activities, reactive decision making and limited vision which seemed to characterize traditional personnel management. The implication is that an organization cannot have a strategic approach to managing the workforce without organizational and business strategy. Here, an aspect of flexible human resource planning comes in, and the ability to use the best forecasting techniques is a precondition for human resource acquisition, utilization, development and retention.

➢ Employees as an asset rather than liabilities: Employee leaving intentions is a topic that has attracted several scholars and practitioners alike for a century and nowadays remains to be a topic of concern as organizational researchers have shown that turnover has a repercussion in various productivity-related processes in the organization (Ramírez García, Del Cerro Ramón, & Fornells Herrera 2019; Hom, Lee, Shaw, & Hausknecht, 2017).

Under the traditional personnel management philosophy, training and development of employees were quite often seen as a cost that should be avoided whenever possible. Now this doctrine has been turned on its head. Investment in people, like any other capital investment, is necessary for better returns in the future.

➢ Getting additional value from employees: Employees are capable of producing added value. It is the role of the management to obtain such added value through human resource development and performance management systems. The concept of added value is borrowed from production economics. It stipulates that an employee can be utilized to produce marginal output if properly trained, does the right job and is rewarded accordingly. Work measurement and matching jobs with the right people as well as measuring performance against the set targets and standards stand out clearer under human resource management school of thought.

➢ Employee commitment: Organizational success comes from the employees’ total commitment to the organizational mission, goals, objectives, and values. Employees’ understanding of the future of the organization and their own future in the organization triggers commitment and hence sustained productivity. It is the task of the management to induce and encourage that commitment.

➢ Where the last element is correspondingly again based on employees’ commitment which is organizational culture: Building a strong organizational culture gives managers an advantage in stimulating employees’ commitment. Effective communication, training, coaching, mentoring and performance management processes are effective tools for building a strong corporate culture.

These philosophies have been blamed for being insensitive to the human capital of working relationships because they are somehow and means about tightening the nuts and bolts in every aspect of employment (Itika, 2011). As a strategy to reduce what appeared to be extremely hard headed human resource management philosophies and practices (that is employers were becoming too selfish, individualistic and greedy trying to maximize whatever possible benefits at the expense of employees), the focus in the 1990s changed somewhat. The direction changed more towards team working, employee empowerment; organizational learning and competency-based human resource management. Human resource management debates of the 1990s and 2000s became focused on trying to understand these new concepts and how useful they are in improving human resource management functions in modern organizations. As for HRs’ objectives, it is these objectives are derived from the philosophies which tie the emergence and development of HRM together, both as a discipline and profession (Itika, 2011; Omar et al., 2018).

It can easily note that the entire purpose was on trying to achieve an organizational mission, vision, aims and objectives using people as valuable resources. Unlike the traditional personnel management theory whereby workforces were comprehended as instruments needed to accomplish work in organizations, human resource management managers recognize and appreciate the need for putting individuals at the highest of the agenda in achieving organizational goals. As the power of the organization depends on the nature of the workforce, putting employees first in all human resource management roles in the organization and making them feel that they are at the highest level, is understood as a step further in putting the organization first among competitors.

The second objective concerns the utilization of staff capacity. Fruitful organizations are those that can utilize the full potential of their employees. This manifests itself in different approaches used in job design, recruitment, and placement. This includes redesigning jobs so that related jobs can be done by one person, recruitment of multi-skilled employees, part time work arrangements, sub-contracting and so on.

The third objective involves ensuring that employees are committed to their jobs, teams, departments and the entire institution. Striving for total employee commitment is intended to minimize unnecessary conflicts between the employees and the management that could result in low morale among the employees, high employee turnover and ultimately low productivity. Commitment is fostered by using various strategies including employees being nurtured through coaching, mentoring and the provision of lucrative reward.

The fourth objective is to ensure that organizational systems, processes and activities are integrated and synergized through a strong organizational culture. Organizational culture is made up of values, attitudes, norms, myths and practices that is “how things are done around”. Different categories of jobs, professions and departments are seen as a “whole” rather than disjointed. Organizational symbols, songs, artefacts etc. are used to foster a culture of uniqueness, which makes employees feel proud of their jobs and the organization.

The fifth is optimal utilization of available resources. In the language of economics, resources are always scarce. Organizations cannot succeed if resources (employees, finance, machinery and equipment, energy) are over utilized, underutilized or are utilized at the wrong time or in the wrong place. Each of these scenarios would suggest that there is a waste of resources because some will be easily depleted, unnecessarily leaving them idle or are being used unwisely. In this case, matching resources with performance is a mechanism for monitoring organizational efficiency. Quite often time/activity/outcome and budget schedules are used to match resources with performance. Any observed underutilization or over utilization of resources has implications in terms of how the human resources were used and measures are taken accordingly. The sixth reason for embracing human resource management practices is derived from organizational cybernetics and systems theory whereby the underlying principle is that ‘the sum is less than the whole’. From a human resource management perspective, each job, organizational unit, section, department and all categories of staff are seen in their totality.

Working together instead of as an individual is a method for improving synergy at all levels. Departmental outdoor training programmers are some of the initiatives used to improve synergy at functional level. The last but one objective covers the utilities of creativity, innovation, teamwork and high quality management as key drivers in organizational excellence. Matching with changing customer needs and expectations requires the presence of an environment for creativity, innovation, team working and an obsession with quality.

Decentralization of decision making to the lowest levels in the organization structure, adaptation of flatter organizational structures, open office layouts, team building exercises, encouragement, support and reward for innovative ideas, and the use of quality circles in job performance are some of the strategies used to keep the organization at the cutting edge. The last objective is to enable managers to be flexible and adapt to changes required in pursuing excellence in human resource management functions. Fast-tracking a change in an organizational environment requires the ability to take prompt decisions and take the right measures before it is too late. Flexibility and adaptation seek to reduce bureaucracy and inflexible working rules and regulations. What matters most is not “how the job is done but what is achieved”.

3. Characteristics of Human Resources Motivation

Improving management functions and human resources procedures in any sector is a continuous and constantly evolving process. Governments need effective action in providing works and services to the population. Although, private sector, the decline in efficiency in the public sector is still noticeable in the world. The competence of institutions is not limited solely to the education, efficiency and capacity of public officials. It is also important to emphasize that the human resources system has a significant impact on the efficiency of institutions. It is observed in many research that, there is a still problem of institutional performance effectiveness, the effectiveness of public officials, the conditions that are needed to reveal their abilities and unused potential are not set (Raudeliūnienė & Meidutė-Kavaliauskienė, 2014). But, how to grow the efficiency of organizational and institutional performance? It is really required to increase the inspiration system of human resources (Raudeliūnienė & Meidutė-Kavaliauskienė, 2014). There is no doubt that for any organization to achieve focused work results of human resources administration offices is to identify the means of motivating human resources.

Moreover, organization should put more efforts into analyzing accurately the existing functions and procedures, to structure them and look for means and approaches that could form the appropriate background, which helps to increase the effectiveness of human resources management. However, for the success in the activities provided by subordinates, responsible must be well commanders and leaders of the motivation process (Certo, 2002).

This paper attempts to understand the motivation factor analysis of human resources and to draw perform of its factors in order to increase the efficiency of existing administrative functions and actions. In achieving the study intended purpose and providing confirmation of findings for this study, reviewing of large related manuscripts in order to achieve the study intended purpose and providing confirmation of findings for this study. Several methods have been adopted such as analysis of the related literature as well as comparative and systematic analysis, synthesis and qualitative research methods and analysis of documents was based in writing this paper.

3.1. Management Features of Human Resources and the Importance of Motivation Factors

The subject of human resources management is still under a lot of researchers focus and discussion. Undoubtedly, human resources elements are a vital and significant element for researchers and it should have a higher priority in order to analyze these factors and find out the reasons and means to enhance the organizations’ performance. During the end of the last century, the importance of human resources management was evaluated; the particularity of human resources management in the public sector lacks the attention compared to the scientific works for the organizations of private sector (Omar et al., 2018). Perhaps, most of the government institutions play a substantial part in ensuring the efficiency of its departments and units where the effective fulfillment of their citizens is necessary.

In analyzing the importance of human resources and management features in organizations, it is necessary to discuss the flexibility development, creative, innovative, active approach performing and the strategic planning process sector’s characteristics. Institutions administrative divisions and authorities are characterized by activity and legal regulations particularities which determine the specifics of human resources management and describe the problematic areas, which the need to value and control human resources strategically is the most important one among them (Raudeliūnienė & Meidutė-Kavaliauskienė, 2014). Several resons could lead to such problem (necessity to develop a flexible, creative, innovative, active approach performing the strategic planning process, and perhaps not to breach the legal regulations of the organizations in public sector.

In terms of size and the number of activities, the public sector takes an important role in the institutions. It might because of advantages of work on the public sector (work and carrier opportunities, social security). However, it is observed that a number of private sector’s management philosophies now are adopted by the public sector, and it made tremendous and significant change in labor regulation, duties and in other areas.

It has become a big growing emphasis on work efficiency and effectiveness, the transformation of leadership, reformation of payment systems, the necessity to carry out researches on the efficiency of employees’ performance, the promotion of collaboration between public and private sectors. Institutions can determine the human resources importance by the specifics of these important resources. On the other hand, the importance of human resources is evaluated in officially way, it might be seldom in some times, where the investments are made for the suitable processes and systems. Of course institutions setting their objectives based on the organizational structure by creating departments, determine their subordination, and get work equipment office equipment and other. However, the institutions are primarily the people working there, they are the ones who seek to set a goal and realize the tasks. How institutions realize the set goals depends on the potential of human resources and the level of their motivation (Chlivickas & Raudeliūnienė, 2007). The best strategies may remain unrealized if the public officials do not have the appropriate skills and qualifications, and at the same time are not properly motivated. The competencies of people working in institutions, the successful compatibility of personal features and motivation, their aiming at the realization of strategic goals and plans are one of the challenges, the solving of which may give good performance results (Chlivickas & Raudeliūnienė, 2007).

In institutions the formal human resources management part is determined by legislation, administrative law principles. The management style and methods used in institutions a lot vary, and depend not only on the formal part of the management or personnel management techniques, but also on the institution’s culture and philosophy, the people who work at that institution, the employees’ skills of human resources department. Alternatively, the formal part of the management and the technique of human resources management are affected in many cases by the informal processes within the institution. Proficiency, member of staff skills, leader’s power and authority, motivation determine a particular human resources policy and management concept. The human resources management is a dynamic process that depends on the external and internal factors, and its purpose is to harmonize the interests of the institutions with the abilities and interests of people working there, as well to motivate properly, effectively seeking the objectives. In the reviews published by international organizations the tendency to individualize the human resources management is institutions (Raudeliūnienė & Meidutė-Kavaliauskienė, 2014). It is the most prominent in the selection processes, establishing the deadline for appointment to the service, in trainings and so on. On the other hand, it is noted that the individualization of human resources management may have a negative impact on the ethics of staff.

A part of the European Union member institutions s establish the increasingly decentralized approach to the procedures of human resources management, especially, employment, wages, evaluation, education policy, and social dialogue (Raudeliūnienė & Meidutė-Kavaliauskienė, 2014). It is important to note that the trends of individualization are more common in countries, where the institutions council is organized on the ground of posts system. Delegation trend is typical to those countries, where the career system dominates. However, the need for public service to react to changes quickly and effectively promotes not only the procedures of human resources management, but also the motivation system of personnel.

3.2. Factor Analysis of Human Resources Motivation in Theoretical Aspects

Several academics come to an understanding that one of the most vital and common dimensions regarding human resources is the motivation factor of organizational workers (Cofer & Appley, 1964; Kanfer, 1990; Raudeliūnienė & Meidutė-Kavaliauskienė, 2014; Steers & Mowday, 2014). The motivation related to workers behavior motives to personal motives to look for good to others and to the society providing them with services (Raudeliūnienė & Meidutė-Kavaliauskienė, 2014). It is argued that, the factors and means which have a great effect on people are motivation. Based on the related scientific literature to motivation, the socio-demographic factors, the results of their activities are an effect on the workers of the public sector and analyzed and categorized diversely. Several scientific researches reported mismatched results regarding the relationship between motivation and job satisfaction, employees’ activities, efforts, the activities of organization, bureaucracy, personal characteristics, etc. Yet, the researchers did not come to an agreement or common approach regards the concept of workers’ motivation and its abilities to properly assess the workers’ motivation and its influencing elements.

Palidauskaitė (2007), has analyzed what components of motivation are exceptional in public service. The scholar institutions that value-determined motives. the desire to serve for public interests, contributing to both creation and realization of public policy, loyalty and respect for authority, dedication to justice and social equality ideas, good intentions regarding individuals and groups, make them unique compared to the motives of private sector workers. Palidauskaitė and Segalovičienė (2008) in their studies have identified the main reasons for the choice of public service: work content, social security, desire to get work experience in public service, and pursuit of personal goal. Among the intrinsic motivation factors, the following have been mentioned: work content, training possibilities, the nature of responsibility, the desire to contribute to the management of public affairs, agreement with the government policy, the desire to have power. Among the external motivation factors, the following have been mentioned: social security, working conditions, wage, workplace security, the possibility to make career, social status, prestige. The scholars say that minor differences evaluating the importance of some factors enable institutions that working in public service both intrinsic (interesting job, self-realization in the professional aspect) and external (good relationships with the managers and colleagues, wage, periodically increasing wage) motivation are important. Anderfuhren-Biget, Varone, Giauque and Ritz (2010) analyze external and intrinsic factors that affect motivation, and distinguish two different approaches, which characterize the motivation of public officials: the scholars of first approach say that public officials act according to the maximization of their interests; the scholars of second approach say that public officials are characterized by the fact that they behave differently from the private sector representatives and are not related to the external motives. Scholars distinguish three groups that motive public officials: public service motivation, material stimuli, team relations and support. Palidauskaitė and Vaisvalavičiūtė (2011) in 2010, carried out researches and found out that public officials wanted to be evaluated, to be rewarded for their work, and were not likely to suffer personal losses for the public welfare. Not all respondents believed that the main purpose of their activities was to serve for the public good protecting the rights and freedoms of its members. The respondents were familiar with goodwill, compassion, wish to help needy people, desire of justice, however, they were not willing to suffer personally because of these aspects. Respondents, that were younger or with less work experience, were less willing to sympathize with others and make sacrifices for them. Andersen and Pedersen (2012) have researched how professionalism and public sector motivation are interrelated. The results have shown that professionalism is negatively related to sympathy and orientation to the user, but positively related to policy development. Chen and Bozeman (2013) have analyzed whether there is a difference between factors affecting motivation of public sector leaders and CEOs of non-profit organizations. The scholars in institutions that seem to be non-profit management such aspects as volunteering, altruism, sociality, ideology and so on are often faced. The research results show that the managers of public sector have a stronger service motivation compared to the leaders of non-profit organizations. Park and Rainey (2012) analyze intrinsic external motivation and types of social communication that are associated with the work aspects (level of involvement in work, bureaucracy, the perception of organizational effectiveness). The research results show that the intrinsic motivation is particularly related to the public managers’ involvement in the work, the perception of bureaucracy and organizational effectiveness. Andersen and Kjeldsen (2013) have analyzed how the motivation of public service and user orientation are related to job satisfaction, and that these relationships are different for private and public sectors employees. The scientific studies have shown that the public service motivation and user orientation are positively related to job satisfaction, and this link in Denmark is stronger for private sector employees compared to the public sector.

Pedersen (2013) argues that the motivation of public sector is related to the activities of public sector workers, organizational activities and responsibilities, stimuli, which try to protect the public interests, reduce circulation and increase job satisfaction. Summing up the various factors, which affect the motivation of public sector workers and are identified by various scholars, five groups of factors influencing motivation have been distinguished:

• Material factors: wages, bonuses, premium allocation, onetime payout in accordance with the procedure established by the government;

• Recognition factors: thanking, nominal gift, institutions awards, more responsibility and authority, involvement in decision-making, career opportunities;

• Self-expression factors: possibility to work interesting and responsible work, ability to improve constantly (trainings, qualification raising courses, rotation, internships, missions);

• Social factors: good psychological climate, appropriate leadership style, free time or entertainment events, manager’s attention, informal conversations, team work organization;

• Security factors: appropriate working conditions, equipped workplace, social security, insurance.

4. Conclusion

The efficiency of institutions is highly dependent on education, competencies, and abilities. It is important to note that the human resources motivation structure has a great impact on the effectiveness of institutions. The problem of the performance of institutions is currently observed; the conditions needed to reveal their abilities and potential are not created. In order to increase the effectiveness of institutions’ performance, the human resources motivation system should be improved. The motivation of public officials is related to the motives of individual’s behavior for instant with personal motives to seek good for others and society providing them with services. One of the major discourses of scholars and business members is the factors influencing employees’ motivation. A number of scientific analyses have been carried out in order to identify the motivation factors in the public sector. However, there is no common approach among the scholars to the concept of workers’ motivation and abilities to properly assess the workers’ motivation and its influencing factors. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of motivation means applied by the leaders of personnel administration services of institutions, motivation aspects were divided into five groups of factors: material, recognition, self-expression, social and security factors. In the group of material factors, wage motivates the employees the most, and other means (bonuses, premium allocation) were evaluated as inadequate means to increase workers’ motivation. In the group of recognition factors, the most effective motivating means are employees’ involvement in the decision-making process, more responsibilities and authority, thanking, career opportunities; inadequate motivating means are nominal gift and awards. In the group of self-expression, both ability to work interesting and responsible job and the possibility to improve constantly (training, qualification raising courses, rotation, internships, missions) were evaluated well. In the group of social factors, the most effective motivating means were leader’s attention, informal conversations, teamwork organization, appropriate leadership style. In the group of security factors, appropriate working conditions, equipped workplace, social security and insurance were evaluated well. In summary, the most effective motivating means are social security, insurance, appropriate working conditions, equipped workplace, the possibility to improve constantly. The least effective motivating means are onetime payout prescribed, awards, bonuses, nominal gift. However, future research and investigations on the applied motivation criteria as well as the appropriate motivation systems used in different organizations by using an appropriate methodology based on massive survey for instance should be considered. Normative data and samples for example, may add more value and accurate information to understand the sub factors of the motivation key factors in theory and practice.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.


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