*Names in bold indicate Presenter
To examine these questions, a sample of 220 public service professionals of various ages recruited online was asked about their current work motivations and then randomly assigned to two groups: ‘reporters’, who were asked to report their work motivations 10 years ago; and ‘predictors’, who were asked to predict their work motivations 10 years from now. Regressions were then estimated to compare the predicted change in work motivation of those X years of age with the reported change of those X+10 years of age. The regressions analyzed both absolute change in the sum of all work motivations as well directional change in specific motivations (such as income, job security, opportunities for advancement, being able to work independently, helping others, and being useful to society).
Consistent with the end of history illusion, results show that public service professionals consistently predict much less change in their work motivations over time than they report experiencing in their actual work histories. In particular, they underestimate the importance of helping others through their work and especially underestimate the importance of being able to work independently. And they overestimate the importance of income. These results have implications for research on work motivations in the public and nonprofit sectors, as they suggest that people entering public service may have systematic biases when making decisions that depend on anticipating what motivations will matter to them over the course of their professional careers.
Quoidbach, J., Gilbert, D. T., & Wilson, T. D. (2013). The End of History Illusion. Science, 339(6115), 96–98