Original Research

Short-term incentive schemes for hospital managers

Lucas Malambe, Mark Bussin
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 11, No 1 | a487 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v11i1.487 | © 2013 Lucas Malambe, Mark Bussin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 July 2012 | Published: 21 October 2013

About the author(s)

Lucas Malambe, Department of Business Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Mark Bussin, Department of Business Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation: Short-term incentives, considered to be an extrinsic motivation, are commonly used to motivate performance. This study explored hospital managers’ perceptions of short term incentives in maximising performance and retention.

Research purpose: The study explored the experiences, views and perceptions of private hospital managers in South Africa regarding the use of short-term incentives to maximise performance and retention, as well as the applicability of the findings to public hospitals.

Motivation for the study: Whilst there is an established link between performance reward schemes and organisational performance, there is little understanding of the effects of short term incentives on the performance and retention of hospital managers within the South African context.

Research design, approach, and method: The study used a qualitative research design: interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 19 hospital managers, and a thematic content analysis was performed.

Main findings: Short-term incentives may not be the primary motivator for hospital managers, but they do play a critical role in sustaining motivation. Participants indicated that these schemes could also be applicable to public hospitals.

Practical/managerial implications: Hospital managers are inclined to be more motivated by intrinsic than extrinsic factors. However, hospital managers (as middle managers) also seem to be motivated by short-term incentives. A combination of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators should thus be used to maximise performance and retention.

Contribution/value-add: Whilst the study sought to explore hospital managers’ perceptions of short-term incentives, it also found that an adequate balance between internal and external motivators is key to implementing an effective short-term incentive scheme.


National Health Insurance; Pay for performance; remuneration; qualitative; bonus, motivation, short-term incentive


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