Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Hardwick Johnson

Committee Member

John Billings


attrition, employment, motivation, public sector, public service, turnover


This research study focused on the attrition rate among employees at a large public sector organization within a large state in the southeastern United States. The study identified factors contributing to the problem and identify possible solutions to minimize or alleviate the problem. The literature identified motivation as one of the factors largely contributing to increasing attrition rates.

Motivation has become a rather slow-paced factor in this large public sector organization and was reflected in work performance and productivity (Director, 2019). Cooperation between departments and individuals of higher positions tended to be deficient and communication was minimal (Director, personal communication, 2019). The research followed the concept of public service motivation (PSM) to answer previous questions and possibly establish patterns to help understand what motivated people to dedicate their lives to public service.

This qualitative study aimed to investigate factors that contributed to high attrition rates experienced by large public sector organizations. Efforts also identified factors that could improve retention rates among these employees. The study used qualitative methodology involving a researcher-created survey to collect data. Analysis of participating individuals’ responses about their experiences were used to identify factors that contributed to attrition or improved retention, which could help minimize or eliminate the problem.

The 42 participants found factors contributing to increasing attrition rates in public sectors organizations were (a) compensation, (b) management, (c) advancement opportunities, (d) coworkers, (e) politics, (f) overwhelming workloads, (g) bureaucracy, (h) culture, and (i) racism or discrimination. The motivators to improve factors to remain in a public sector organization were (a) improved compensation, (b) enjoyable coworkers, (c) benefits, (d) training, (e) clear paths for advancement opportunities, (f) reduction of politics in work, (g) management training, and (h) resolution of cultural complaints including racism and discrimination. Those motivated to remain were for reasons including light workloads, community interaction, working with children, helping people, job security, and work stability.