Intended Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctorate in Public Administration (DPA)


Kris Norman-Major


Craig Waldron

Committee Member

Bill Champa

Second Committee Member

Lou Kaluza


This exploratory study examines the degree to which counties had carefully thought-out motivations for the adoption of performance pay systems, the degree to which they were using objective measures to gauge whether it was achieving those objectives, and the degree to which they believed it was achieving its intended objectives. Results indicated that adopting a performance pay system is not something to be entertained lightly. It requires more work, more discipline, more managerial courage, more training, more support, and will cause more heated internal conversations about compensation than more traditional compensation system alternatives. It is equally clear that traditional compensation systems create more rewards for those doing the least effort and for those doing the least to advance an organization’s mission than a performance pay system. The traditional system relies almost exclusively on the intrinsic motivation of employees who seek employ in the public service. A well-crafted and executed performance management system that incorporates best management practices designed to thoroughly and constantly review the system’s efficacy and fairness, coupled with a market-driven performance pay system, coupled with a robust set of additional strategies to create a high quality of employee worklife (recognition programs, tenure recognition and other similar environmental programs) does have the potential to create a higher-performing, more mission-driven focus linking employee performance to organizational results. But, if an organization cannot or will not make the necessary investments for all of that to be true, a poorly administered system will do more harm than good.








School of Business Student Theses and Dissertations