To ensure qualified health care professionals at public hospitals in the future, it is important to understand which factors attract health care professionals to certain positions. The aim of this study was to explore motives for choosing employment at either public or private hospitals in a group of Danish surgeons, as well as to examine if organizational characteristics had an effect on motivation.
Eight qualitative interviews were conducted with surgeons from both public and private hospitals sampled using the snowball method. The interviews were based on a semi-structured interview guide and analyzed by means of phenomenological theory.
Motivational factors such as personal influence on the job, the opportunity to provide the best possible patient care, challenging work tasks colleagues, and ideological reasons were emphasized by the surgeons as important reasons for their choice of employment. Motivational factors appeared to be strongly connected to the structure of the organization; especially the size of the organization was perceived to be essential. It is worth noting that salary, in contrast to the general belief, was considered a secondary benefit rather than a primary motivational factor for employment.
The study revealed that motivational factors are multidimensional and rooted in organizational structure; i.e. organizational size rather than whether the organization is public or private is crucial. There is a need for further research on the topic, but it seems clear that future health care planning may benefit from taking into account the implications that large organizational structures have for the staff working within these organizations.