Creating Motivation Of Public Servants In Brunei Commerce Essay

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You got to like your work. You have got to like what you are doing, you have got to be doing something worthwhile so you can like it - because it is worthwhile, that it makes a difference, don't you see?

This paper attempts to explore the motivation of one of departments in Ministry of Finance in Brunei which is Royal Customs and Exercise Department. In detail, it is to discuss how to develop the motivation in using the theory of motivation. It also wants to seek the things that may contribute to the motivation of public servants in their jobs which are particularly absent in the department.

This paper concludes with the discussion in which, the department should create motivation through explanation by using one of the motivational theories i.e. Maslow' theory of Hierarchy of Needs. Thus in order to motivate the public servant, this essay is trying to identify the possible suggestion to encourage their motivation.


This essay is developed into several parts. The first part is under case study, is to examine the essence of motivation in the departments. This part will identify the nature of the motivation in public servants and the effectiveness of those factors. This is also explained by using the current article describing the public servants associated with the department having less motivated in performing their good jobs thus indulging in immoral activities. Most of employees are experience both positive motivation and loss or lack of motivation would have lack of initiative, low morale, mistakes and high worker turnover in the public service. Thus the employees could not get rid from having failures and living a mediocre life. These employees also could not resist themselves to do certain things that break the laws in the public service as well as in the country. Thus, above explanations are correspond with the quote above in a way that, they got to do their job because they like and worthwhile in return they got rewards by doing their jobs.

The second part is introducing the literature review on the development of motivational theories. This theories help to explain how the people in the organization can be motivated through stages. This paper illustrates how to motivate the public servants with particularly one of the motivational theories which is the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. In addition, the theory is trying to discuss the absence of the factors will lead to motivation and suggest the better ways to motivate them. Next part is to conclude the overall essay and highlighting the better understanding the importance to provide full satisfaction of the level of needs of public servants and induce better job performance in the department.

The nature of the motivation in the Royal Custom and Excise Department.

The motivation of public servants in public organization is pursued by the rewards and incentives they receive intrinsically and extrinsically. The employees in government are given incentives in terms of salary, holidays, allowance, job appraisal, promotions and within themselves, they are self- motivated in a way they like doing their jobs not because of external rewards. According to the author of Public Employees with High Levels of Public Service Motivation, Bright 2005, the public employees may attract to the government due to these three categories. One of these is attracting to public policy making gives them to be self-important, in addition is to maintain social equity and convicting to the important of services.

The Ministry of Finance is concurrently head by His Majesty himself. It is responsible for the control and management of public finances of Brunei. There are five departments and agencies reside under the Ministry of Finance and one of them is The Royal Customs and Excise Department. This department had developed its vision, mission and strategic goals as its basic direction. Its vision is to maintain and developing peace, prosperity and security in the country. While it mission is to encourage revenue collection, facilitate and protect the society as well as the country.

Some of its strategic goals are; to update Customs legislation, rules, regulations and procedure and taking into account from the international practices, to collect revenue for Customs, enhancing the services quality, efficiently and effectively, enhancing the quality in management and professionalism, strengthening the roles and abilities of operations and prevention acts last but not least is adopting advance in technology. Furthermore, the department also human resource development by providing the training scheme for the custom officials, manpower and succession planning and etc.

Above those are the guidance and direction which are truly giving a sense of motivation to the public servants in the department itself. They direct the public servants to achieve the departments' expectations and improvement of people livings.

Insufficiency of motivation

However, few current issues are showing these public servants are developing lack of motivation in the public services. The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in Brunei has told to Brunei Times during briefing to PWD that there are high incidences of bribery in government department prominently in Ministry of Development's Public Works Department (PWD), police and customs officials. This is due to they are dealing with the public on a regular basis and there are so many opportunities because the staff have to meet with the public. It was stated that 33% of public servants in Brunei, believing to be affected with bribery (Brunei Times, April 2010). The department also experienced delay activities at port clearance including slow inspections by custom officials reported by importers of goods. This incidence happens due to their lack effort and loss of interest on their jobs.

They lacking of these attitude may due to certain things that do not make them to be felt motivated. Therefore the essence of motivation presents in the department could not sufficient and satisfy enough to drive them to the better performance. There are certain factors that could contribute to the motivation that are absent in the department. They have base salary, but some of them are not satisfy, they lack of recognition, dissatisfy job content, undeveloped training and creativity as well as advancement in thinking. The vision, mission and goals are not the only factors that would drive their motivation as well as incentives the government given to the public servants.

Literature Review

Motivation can be defined in many ways. Broadly, it defines as a driving force that initiates and directs someone's behaviour or it can be an internal energy drives a person to do something in order to achieve something. It can be changeable according to certain time within a person which is not concerned with someone personality (Romando, 2007). According to John Baldoni, a leadership consultant and speaker and author of six books, including Great Motivation Secrets of Great Leaders (McGraw-Hill 2005) states "Motivation is an intrinsic response; it comes from inside and cannot be imposed from the outside. Motivation comes from wanting to do something of one's own free will. If you are free, you can choose to do something." Motivation can be positive and negative. A positive and good motivation is a key to success and a role in an effective performance of the employee. The performance of public organization is depends on the employees itself. In fact that hard working and skillful employees have drive to productivity, credibility and efficiency. Therefore, it's very important to keep the employees motivated and infuse high level energy within them that drive them to work more harder.

From the article of An Honest Day's Work, 1988, Twyla Dell wrote on the employee motivation, "The heart of motivation is to give people what they really want most from work. The more you are able to provide what they want, the more you should expect what you really want, namely: productivity, quality, and service." Many pioneers of motivation theories have been explaining ways to develop motivation in the human. The motivation theories state that there should be certain things that will drive the person to work better, things that what the person wants and motivated to do their jobs.

Such motivational theories are listed according to three distinct categories of content theories, process theories and reinforcement theories. Under content theories, specify the needs that motivate the worker and focusing on the basic motivational needs of the worker. These theories are the theory of Maslow' Hierarchy of Needs, Alderfer's ERG theory and Hertzberg Two Factor theory. While the process theories describing the understanding of the process that influence worker's behaviour which theories are Equity theory, Expectancy theory and Goal setting theory in addition, reinforcement theories focuses on the worker learning of the work behaviour and this s by reinforcement tools i.e. positive reinforcement, avoidance learning, punishment and extinction.

Need- based framework of employee motivation

When we look at the content perspective in explaining the motivation, it emphasizes the basic needs should be achieved towards motivating the employees. People have different wants. In reality, we come across some situation that one person value things the other have but actually don't and the other value things he have but the actually don't. Therefore, in the organization, the employers are need to know how to handle variety of needs in order to understand how maximize productivity.

Let's take the theory of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, the most famous motivation theory to explain more detail and apply it to the department. The Hierarchy of Needs was formally introduced by Abraham Maslow in his book called Motivation and Personality (1954). The essential of Maslow's theory is that the human beings are basically motivated by the needs that they not satisfy yet and thus the lower factors need to be satisfied before the higher needs. The lower needs take priority. According to Maslow, there are five famous general types of needs; self-actualization, esteem, belongingness, safety and physiological. He also called these as "deficiency needs" because as one person needs to achieve the lower needs and lack of other next needs are deficient. The person should be able to satisfy towards every levels and thus achieving a healthy motivation while lacking of satisfaction results in sickness. As shown in the below hierarchical diagram, it is called 'Maslow's Needs Pyramid' or 'Maslow's Needs Triangle'.


Esteem Needs

Social Needs

Safety Needs

Physiological Needs

Figure 1

The physiological needs are the needs that required to sustain a person's life. These are such as air, water, food and sleep. This theory explain that, if the person is not satisfy with these fundamental needs, the social and esteem needs are not going to be recognised until he satisfy with those existence basic needs. Next level of needs is the safety needs. Once a person meets the psychological needs, a person will find for safety and security in order to be safe and away from physical and emotional threats. Such needs to satisfy a person are by living in a safe area, a medical insurance, job security and financial reserves. According to Maslow, if a person feels threatened, he will not find for further needs as he is not satisfy and feel motivated.

When a person achieves the lower level of psychological and safety needs, he will search for the higher needs i.e. social needs. It is refers to a sense of belongingness as it involves the interaction with others for instance friendship, belong to a particular group and needs of giving and receiving love. Later during the stage of the esteem need, the person eventually attaining a sense of being important. Esteem needs can be internal and external motivator. The internal motivators are such as accomplishment and self-respect while external motivators are like recognition, attention, social status and reputation.

Self-actualization is the highest attainable of achievement of this theory. This is the need that developing one person's full potential. Maslow claimed that only a small percentage of world's population reaches the level of self-actualization. The self-actualized people tend to possess truth, justice, wisdom and meaning.

Specific examples for these types of needs are given below, in context of in the workplace and at home.





education, religion, hobbies, personal growth

training, advancement, growth, creativity


approval of family, friends, community

recognition, high status, responsibilities


family, friends, clubs

teams, depts, coworkers, clients, supervisors, subordinates


freedom from war, poison, violence

work safety, job security, health insurance


Food, water, air

Heat, air, base salary

From the table above, we can explain the motivation of public servants work in the Department of Royal Customs and Excise. The public servants in the department have given such monthly salary, have access to scheme of service for instance pension for retired at age 60, TAP (Employee's Trust Fund) of taking 5% of salary accumulated as future saving as well as the SCP (Supplementary Contributory Pension )required to chip in minimum 3.5% of their salary and the department also provides training, succession planning in which the public servants will be promoted to upper level post in the department if they perform well depends on the grades of performance.

However, it has been shown that these public servants are lacking of motivation in a way that certain factors that drive them to motivate to do works are absent in the department itself. This can be proven in which few cases involving with custom officials were charged in carrying out immoral activities and inefficient job done instead motivated in contributing their efforts with the department.

Therefore, in creating motivation of the public servant is by fulfilling their needs to meet their satisfaction. According to Maslow's theory, once the workers satisfy with needs fulfilling by the organization, therefore they will motivated to do their work and perform well. Few cases involving the custom officials indulging with bribery concerning on the transaction of money in return, showing that they have not satisfy well the salary they receive or the shelters they have. In relation to Maslow's theory, the some workers will search for the physiological needs in terms of better salary and housing thus satisfy their needs in turn motivate them to work. Thus the public servants should be provided better salary that enough for them to feed themselves in addition increasing allowances as well as provide better housing.

Some of the public servants are satisfy with the safety needs they gain in the department. The job security provided for every public servant such as TAP and SCP are satisfying enough for their future necessity. In addition, the needs of belongingness has been achieved through development of relationship in the department between coworker, the employers for instance during the cleaning campaign and aerobic activities on World Customs Day this year.

According to Maslow's theory, in order to create motivation in public servants, they needs in terms of esteem must be fulfilled. In few cases, the custom officials experienced inefficient job performance. To encourage their performance, instead through the recognition program giving out certificates and souvenirs to the long-serving custom personnel , the department should also recognized those who work harder and achieved better performance than the others not just based on the period of their serving. Furthermore, the department should assign some public servants to hold higher responsibilities for instance to head up projects or teams. The department can expand the job to include new, higher level responsibilities (M. Heathfield, 2009). Thus, eventually they might feel self-important and gain status within the teams.

To fulfil the needs of some public servants in the department to be self- actualised, such needs like advancement, training and job that provide them with creativity should be established. The department has provided training as part of their human resource development program for them to enhance their capabilities and commitment. Once they have trained, they should be put in certain project and then defined the work boundaries, this will lead them freedom to work with their own wisdom. It will let them feel free to change the working style or modify the project if they feel it is better and encourage them take their own decisions and if it is something big they can ask for the higher approval before implementing. According to Don Jacobson, make them engage and be creative employees (i.e. the "Master Sergeant Romeros" of the operation), asking them to identify a long list of things that can be improved to make the customer's experience more comfortable, transparent and efficient. During this stage also, the public servants are induce with high morale and honesty.


The fulfilment of needs to the public servants in the department could induce a positive consequence to the performance as a whole. For instance, when they reach to the level of needs of esteem and satisfy with the recognition and status he receive then overtime they become self-actualized person and this are the happy and successful people. Together with this, they in turn understand the objective of the department as a whole in contributing to the prosperity, security of the government and enhancing quality of the department as well. However, in fulfilling these needs to some of public servants in the department may have difficult in a way that the nature of the human being of having variety of needs. It is difficult to maintain and make sufficient needs available to every public servant. Therefore it is imperative, for the department to recognize each need of the public servants that currently being pursued. Importantly, in order to motivate them, leadership must be understood the current level of needs of the public servants. The workers will follow and do the things if the employer does things to motivate them.


As a whole, some public servants in the department can be motivated in terms of supplying them with basic needs identify in Maslow's theory motivation. Motivation in public servants will induce the effectiveness of their performance at works. Person with self-actualization does have a sense of morality thus when every public servant have achieve this level of need, eventually the job efficiency and lack of morality will be diminished. However, there is no one right theory, to explain in developing motivation of the workers. Goal- setting theory emphasizes that the workers are motivated when they have clear and understanding goals they strife to achieve. Thus, according to that theory, the department also need to make sure that every public servant have clear goals and skills to help them to achieve.