Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Robert L. Dewhurst


Leadership, Motivation, Public Sector, Transformational Leadership


Business | Leadership Studies


In municipalities throughout the United States, there exists a belief that many public sector workers are unmotivated, disengaged from their work and disinterested in serving the public (Lavigna, 2014). This qualitative case study sought to understand the central phenomenon of the perceptions of public sector leaders in South Carolina for motivating their workers. Herzberg’s theory regarding the efficacy of leaders to understand the intrinsic motivational factors influencing worker performance, along with the four aspects of transformational leadership served as the theoretical framework for this study. Franklin (2016) explored the impact of leadership styles using Herzberg’s two-factor theory and a variety of leadership theories to assess the relationships of these constructs. Moore (2007) brought forth a significant study on the effect of leadership on organizational effectiveness, having demonstrated a positive relationship between transformational leadership behaviors and the financial, revenue-based results of firm performance. The key findings of the current study indicated that public sector leaders use many techniques to identify the factors for motivating their workers toward improved productivity and customer service, such as highly visible leadership, building close personal relationships and reflective inquiries. The findings appeared to support the expected outcomes at the onset of the study that transformational public sector leaders who understand their workers’ intrinsic motivation factors inspire their workers to perform better; increased performance within the public sector organizations may be based, to some degree, upon the efficacy of the leader to recognize and enact various motivational stimuli to inspire their workers across the four aspects of transformational leadership.