Original Research

The mediation role of motivation between leadership and public sector performance

Dzivhuluwani Mavhungu, Mark H.R. Bussin
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 15 | a840 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v15i0.840 | © 2017 Dzivhuluwani Mavhungu, Mark H.R. Bussin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 July 2016 | Published: 05 October 2017

About the author(s)

Dzivhuluwani Mavhungu, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Mark H.R. Bussin, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation: As a result of poor performance in 2013, five departments in the Limpopo province were placed under administration in terms of Section 100 (1) (b) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

Research purpose: The main purpose of this study was to investigate the importance of the individual level of performance when diagnosing performance issues in the public sector by focusing on the mediatory role of motivation in the relationship between leadership and public sector performance.

Motivation for the study: The diagnosis conducted focused more on the analysis of administrative and operational systems. The solutions were based on normalising financial statements and systems to improve performance.

Research design, approach and method: The study took a positivist approach as the philosophy of the study. Using quantitative methods, a cross-sectional survey was used to collect data from 65 employees working in one of the departments that were affected by the intervention.

Main findings: The study confirmed the existence of a relationship between leadership and performance in the public sector. It was also found that Public Sector Motivation plays a mediatory role between Perceived Leadership Styles and Individual Job Performance.

Practical/managerial implications: The findings imply that it is important that the Limpopo Provincial Government makes an effort to employ and retain employees who are readily showing high levels of Public Sector Motivation.

Contribution or value additions: The study focused on an overlooked area in the study of performance in the public sector. The study was able to produce a tool that should be able to provide information to assist managers to make better performance improvement strategy decisions.


perceived leadership styles; public sector motivation; individual job performance; mediatory; quantitative


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