Master of Public Administration
Department or Program
Davis, Randall S.
Improving the performance of public organizations has been, and continues to be, a central concern in public management. However, relative to the private sector, the tools available to the public manager for enhancing performance are somewhat limited. This paper examines two techniques for enhancing individual performance, setting clear goals and offering contingent rewards. I use data collected by the United States Office of Personnel Management to test two hypotheses. The results indicate that setting clear goals and offering contingent rewards both increase job satisfaction, an important attitude linked to job performance. However, setting clear goals more prominently influences job satisfaction as compared to offering other performance rewards. To the extent that public managers have the capacity to clarify goals for public employees, they can enhance governmental performance.