In Search of Motivation for the Business Survey Response Task

Vanessa Torres van Grinsven, Irena Bolko, Mojca Bavdaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-606
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Official Statistics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Data quality
  • incentive
  • organization
  • respondent
  • survey participation


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