In Search of Motivation for the Business Survey Response Task

Open access

Abstract

Increasing reluctance of businesses to participate in surveys often leads to declining or low response rates, poor data quality and burden complaints, and suggests that a driving force, that is, the motivation for participation and accurate and timely response, is insufficient or lacking. Inspiration for ways to remedy this situation has already been sought in the psychological theory of self-determination; previous research has favored enhancement of intrinsic motivation compared to extrinsic motivation. Traditionally however, enhancing extrinsic motivation has been pervasive in business surveys. We therefore review this theory in the context of business surveys using empirical data from the Netherlands and Slovenia, and suggest that extrinsic motivation calls for at least as much attention as intrinsic motivation, that other sources of motivation may be relevant besides those stemming from the three fundamental psychological needs (competence, autonomy and relatedness), and that other approaches may have the potential to better explain some aspects of motivation in business surveys (e.g., implicit motives). We conclude with suggestions that survey organizations can consider when attempting to improve business survey response behavior.

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