Motivation in the Private Sector
Both sides of the coin that the Providence Journal editorial board describes in this passage from an unsigned essay concerning public labor in Central Falls are overly broad assertions, but the sentence that I’ve italicized seems especially presumptuous:
… as virtually anyone who has dealt with public employees at the state and local levels can attest, don’t expect many workers to take a relaxed view toward the “no-overtime” rule. As soon as a municipal office’s closing time arrives, they tend to be outta there fast. People in the private sector, driven by financial fear, tend to extend their time a bit to provide customer service to help keep their enterprise afloat.
No doubt, some private sector workers put in extra time out of worry that management will otherwise crack down on them, and others are surely afraid that a failure to go work beyond minimum hours will cut into the entire company’s competitive edge, but I’d wager that going above and beyond is motivated in the majority of private sector cases by ambition. Employees putting in extra effort, that is, are more likely to be hoping to advance than hoping not to backslide.
The inverse is the common complaint, among managers and ambitious workers, about unionized labor. Sure, they secure baseline rules for employees, but that baseline can also be a ceiling for those who wish to get ahead.