Since the onset of the Great Recession, "doing more with less" has become a policy mantra. To do more with less, a range of governments have concurrently imposed wage cuts and greater work demands on public employees. This article assesses the impact of these changes on the job satisfaction and work motivation of public employees in 34 European countries. Congruent with previous studies linking income and working hours with job attitudes, the article finds a negative impact on both. There are no free austerity lunches: while public employees may work longer hours for lower pay, they are less satisfied and less motivated when doing so. One caveat applies: the effect on motivation-although not satisfaction-is mitigated when employees feel that their values are aligned with those of their organization. This puts a premium on public managers fostering value alignment, particularly when it is hardest to achieve: in times of cutbacks.

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Esteve Laporta, Marc; Schuster , Christian; Albareda Sanz, Adri; Losada Marrodn, Carlos

The effects of doing more with less in the public sector: Evidence from a large-scale survey

07/2017
Since the onset of the Great Recession, "doing more with less" has become a policy mantra. To do more with less, a range of governments have concurrently imposed wage cuts and greater work demands on public employees. This article assesses the impact of these changes on the job satisfaction and work motivation of public employees in 34 European countries. Congruent with previous studies linking income and working hours with job attitudes, the article finds a negative impact on both. There are no free austerity lunches: while public employees may work longer hours for lower pay, they are less satisfied and less motivated when doing so. One caveat applies: the effect on motivation-although not satisfaction-is mitigated when employees feel that their values are aligned with those of their organization. This puts a premium on public managers fostering value alignment, particularly when it is hardest to achieve: in times of cutbacks.
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The effects of doing more with less in the public sector: Evidence from a large-scale survey
Esteve Laporta, Marc; Schuster , Christian; Albareda Sanz, Adri; Losada Marrodn, Carlos
Public Administration Review
Vol. 77, n 4, 07/2017, p. 544 - 553

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