Incentive structures as a capacity development strategy in public service delivery: a literature review and annotated bibliography on the role of incentives for civil servants within capacity development policies

Ulleberg, Inger
Rethinking capacity development
143 p.

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About the publication

Incentive structures play a crucial role when it comes to capacity development, by motivating individuals and targeting organizational performance. The lack of impact of some capacity development efforts has been blamed in part on the absence of a supportive incentive structure. However, the creation of such structures is not a simple matter, because of the financial implications and more importantly, because of the possible contradictions between individual and organizational needs. Moreover, the limited impact of many incentives schemes results in capacity erosion when linked to competing disincentives, such as sustained low wage levels, a lack of transparency in recruitment or promotion based on political affiliation. The lack of knowledge about the efficient use of non-financial incentives and human resources management tools are additional reasons for failure. This literature review presents several successful approaches to incentives. They target not only performance, but accountability, team spirit or other organizational 'intangibles' that may have a positive impact on performance in the long term.