Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, August 23, 2010

Professors share expertise on motivation, performance on Chinese campuses

How motivation in the public sector affects performance was the topic of a conference professors Donald Moynihan and Pamela Herd attended in China in July.

Pamela Herd and Donald Moynihan stand with China's Great Wall behind them.

Before heading home from China, Pamela Herd and Donald Moynihan stopped to see a few sights, including the Great Wall.

The 2010 International Conference of Pubic Service Motivation and Public Performance in a Globalize World took place at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in the city of Wuhan. The university's president, Li Peigen, opened the proceedings. He earned a doctorate in engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1987.

"In addition to the broad discussion about the role of motivation in influencing performance, we explored the desire to serve others in particular," Moynihan says.

Moynihan made two presentations and served as a discussant. One paper explored whether public service motivation leads to budget maximization. The other investigated how the perceived social impact of work encourages performance information use.

Herd and Moynihan were then guests at Xi'an Jiaotong University, where they led a Ph.D. student workshop on motivation and performance management.

In addition, Herd spoke to demography faculty and students on "Education and Health Outcomes: The Role of Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Human Capital."

"In both places, we met with many Chinese students and scholars and were able to observe, first hand, the increasing focus on the social science study of governance in China," Moynihan says.