Project Human Resource Management in the public sector: what motivates public employees to work on projects?
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Public sector organisations in various countries increasingly rely on project management to effectively implement government policies and organisational strategies. The management of human resources for public sector projects has recently received growing attention for its critical role in successfully delivering projects. In particular, the staffing of public sector projects can be a challenge for project managers. This study complements previous literature on project human resource management by exploring factors that influence the motivation of public employees to work on public sector projects. Drawing on established models of human behaviour, the present study introduces a model of public employees’ intention to work on projects. To empirically verify the model, a multiple regression analysis is performed using survey data collected among New Zealand public employees (N = 108). The results from the analysis highlight four factors influencing the motivation of public employees to work on projects. Public employees are more motivated to work on projects when they believe that: 1) project management tools and techniques will improve their job performance and quality of work; 2) a project position does not require radical changes in the way they usually work; 3) their colleagues have a positive opinion about project-based work and want them to work on projects; and 4) a project position is associated with high social status and prestige. The comparison of the findings of the present study and findings of previous research indicates that the influence of the first three factors on intention could be generalised across contexts. In developing a model of employees’ intention formation and providing empirical support of the model, this research contributes to future research on similar topics.