Guest co-editors:

Marc Esteve (University College London & ESADE Business School)
Arjen van Witteloostuijn (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam & University of Antwerp)
Andrew Whitford (University of Georgia)
Robert Christensen (Brigham Young University)
Bradley Wright (University of Georgia)



In a global context of rising disdain towards government and fiscal austerity, understanding how to motivate public employees is of central importance for effective public sector governance (Esteve et al., 2017). The scholarly attention given to public sector motivation appears to reflect this importance. It is at an all-time peak, with over 50 studies published annually in recent years (Ritz, Brewer and Neumann, 2016). Yet, as argued by Esteve and Schuster (2018), these studies have overwhelmingly focused solely on one form of work motivation in the public sector: public service motivation. The large literature on work motivation in general management suggests, however, that other forms of motivation can be equally important in the workplace (Pinder, 2015). Similarly, linking to the fundamental psychology of motivation has great potential (Slabbinck et al., 2018).

This symposium welcomes proposals addressing how to increase motivation to serve the public interest, using experimental designs. The overarching theme of the symposium is to discuss strategies to enhance motivation among individuals involved in the delivery of public services – working in the public, private, or not-for-profit sectors.

Potential topics for papers include any area of public administration and management. Research papers may provide insights into motivation research in areas such as:

  • Specific examples of interventions to increase motivation among employees delivering public services;
  • Studies empirically addressing the relation between motivation and work outcomes;
  • Mediating and moderating factors between motivation and individual performance;
  • The effect of nudges towards motivation in the public service;
  • The role of the need for achievement, affiliation, and power.


As part of this call for papers, we will organize a small conference in Barcelona, hosted by ESADE Business School. Scholars interested in participating should submit an abstract to the guest-editors by January 10, 2019. The abstract should be about two pages long and contain a description of the problem addressed and the argument that will be advanced, as well as the methodology and sources of data to be used. If possible, the nature of the arguments and findings should be previewed. Information on acceptance will be given by late January, with the conference to be held on April 25th and 26th.



Proposal submission deadline: 10 January 2019.

Conference: 25 – 26 April 2019.

Submission Deadline of Final Manuscripts: 30 September 2019.

Please note that final manuscripts will be submitted by the guest co-editors to JBPA for double-blind peer review with final decisions regarding publication being made by JBPA editors. The submitted papers will need conform to JPBA’s guidelines for paper submissions:

The full CfP can be accessed here.