Motivation in Business Survey Response Behavior: Influencing motivation to improve survey outcome

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisThesis 5: fully external


In this dissertation we show theoretical and empirical insights into the concept of motivation in the context of the business and organizational survey task. The research has led to a number of recommendations on how to improve organizational survey and communication design to enhance motivation and herewith improve response rates and data quality and diminish burden complaints by businesses and other types of organizations. We have also laid the base upon which to continue further research on motivation in organizational surveys, continuing to fill the gap between what is known in other disciplines about motivation and how this can be applied to organizational survey research. Both qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques were used, as well as different types of data. By using different data types and analysis methods complementarity and validation of the results of the different chapters is achieved. Literature research was also part of the endeavor of bringing in more knowledge on motivation into the field of business and organizational survey methodology. To sum up, we conclude, first, regarding types of motivation, from Chapter 2, that extrinsic motivation calls for attention with regards to organizational survey response behavior and that thus extrinsic sources of motivation may be relevant besides those influencing intrinsic motivation. We also propose that other approaches may have the potential to better explain some aspects of motivation in organizational surveys than the self-determination theory framework alone, for instance the dual system approach to motivation that treats implicit motives besides explicit motives, as opposed to previous survey research that has given attention only to intrinsic motivation. Possible ways to enhance extrinsic motivation for the organizational survey response task are, for example, the use of incentives (Chapter 4); or the enhancement of the usefulness of the surveys as perceived by businesses by, for example, the feedback of statistical figures (Chapter 3). Chapter 3 explores more in depth businesses’ use of official statistics and possibilities of enhancing this use. This knowledge can be used to enhance motivation through a survey and communication design. In the context of intrinsic motivation especially important seems to be the relationship between a survey organization such as Statistics Netherlands and the responding organization (for example a business) or an organizational respondent. The effect of survey design and communication instances and strategies on perception and sentiments is explored in Chapter 5. Chapter 5 indicates which kind of actions and communication strategies of the Dutch national statistical institute CBS influence a positive or negative sentiment and perception and herewith also points towards knowledge on how to enhance motivation through a survey and communication design. This chapter makes it especially evident that communication instances are very important in influencing perception and sentiments and should receive due attention when designing a survey. Chapter 6 critically reviews motivation research and theories from different fields of research and concludes with recommendations for the application of these findings on organizational survey design.
Original languageEnglish
  • Hox, Joop, Supervisor, External person
  • Snijkers, Ger, Supervisor, External person
Thesis sponsors
Award date24 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


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