What motivates health professionals? Opportunities to gain greater insight from theory

Buetow, Stephen
July 2007
Journal of Health Services Research & Policy;Jul2007, Vol. 12 Issue 3, p183
Academic Journal
Health care policy-makers and researchers need to pay more attention to understanding the influence of motivation on professional behaviour. Goal setting theory, including two hypotheses – the business case and the pride case – dominates current attempts to motivate professionals. However, the predominance of goal setting theory stifles other approaches to conceptualizing professional motivation. These approaches include other cognitive theories of motivation, such as self-determination theory (concerned with how to use extrinsic rewards that enhance intrinsic motivation), as well as content, psychoanalytic and environmental theories. A valuable opportunity exists to develop and test such theories in addition to possible hybrids, for example, by elaborating goal setting theory in health care. The results can be expected to inform health policy and motivate individual professionals, groups, organizations and workforces to improve and deliver high quality care.


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