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Kathryn Hendren and Sanjay K. Pandey

Motivation research plays an important role in improving performance and organizing management structures to engage public service employees. In order to provide a contemporary account of motivation research in the US public administration scholarship, we review articles published in the past ten years in six prominent public administration journals. This review of recent literature on motivation is multidisciplinary, but explicitly recognizes the distinctiveness of the public sector context. Drawing on articles that form the basis of this review, we provide an overview of motivation research, highlighting important details and patterns that emerge. We then review what has become the largest component of work motivation research in this literature, public service motivation. Next, we provide a brief overview of a related but emerging literature on public values and other prominent motivation theories. We conclude with a section summarizing the progress of the literature thus far and suggest avenues for further research.