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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Identifying important motivational factors for professionals in Greek hospitals

Nick Kontodimopoulos*, Victoria Paleologou and Dimitris Niakas

Author Affiliations

Faculty of Social Sciences, Hellenic Open University, Bouboulinas 57, 26222, Patras, Greece

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BMC Health Services Research 2009, 9:164  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-164

Published: 15 September 2009



The purpose of this study was to identify important motivational factors according to the views of health-care professionals in Greek hospitals and particularly to determine if these might differ in the public and private sectors.


A previously developed -and validated- instrument addressing four work-related motivators (job attributes, remuneration, co-workers and achievements) was used. Three categories of health care professionals, doctors (N = 354), nurses (N = 581) and office workers (N = 418), working in public and private hospitals, participated and motivation was compared across socio-demographic and occupational variables.


The range of reported motivational factors was mixed and Maslow's conclusions that lower level motivational factors must be met before ascending to the next level were not confirmed. The highest ranked motivator for the entire sample, and by professional subgroup, was achievements (P < 0.001). Within subgroups, motivators were similar, and only one significant difference was observed, namely between doctors and nurses in respect to co-workers (P < 0.05). Remuneration (and salary in particular) was reported as a significant incentive only for professionals in managerial positions. Health professionals in private hospitals were motivated by all factors significantly more than their public-hospital counterparts.


The results are in agreement with the literature which focuses attention to management approaches employing both monetary and non-monetary incentives to motivate health care workers. This study showed that intrinsic factors are particularly important and should become a target for effective employee motivation.