13.1 Introduction

This chapter explores the recruitment and turnover of a particular type of immigrant workers, namely, school teachers in Greenland. The central research question is: What are the motivational bases for recruitment and turnover of school teachers comparing the West and East coast of Greenland? A wider discussion is whether particular motivational forms are worth fostering in the educational sector in Greenland, and if they may hold a potential for mitigating some of the recruitment problems the educational sector in Greenland is facing.

The recruitment of teachers is a salient societal problem in Greenland. For years, the country has struggled to address and do away with a competence gap, which stifles the labor market. The competence gap that confronts Greenland means that employers demand skills that are not – or only to a limited extent – present in the labor force in Greenland. As a consequence, employers recruit staff internationally, most notably from Denmark. This also pertains to school headmasters, especially those in peripheral areas of Greenland, who turn to Denmark to recruit trained teachers.

Job motivation is central to the recruitment of a qualified work force. A number of motivational factors may be of importance here, and in this chapter we focus on other-oriented versus self-oriented motivational forms on the one hand and motivational forms which are addressing a specific versus an abstract referent on the other (see Table 13.1). Public Service Motivation (PSM) is an other-regarding motivational form defined as “an individual’s orientation to delivering services to people with a purpose to do good for others and society” (Perry & Hondeghem, 2008). This motivational form has proved to be important both to recruitment and performance in the public sector in a number of Western welfare states, and indeed also in the educational sector (Andersen et al., 2014; Ritz et al., 2016). The argument is that people seek employment, where they expect to find a fit between their motivation and the job-content and organizational goals, and hence employees with high PSM will seek employment in jobs providing public service.

Recently, community psychology has attracted attention as a related field working with other-regarding motivational forms such as sense of community responsibility (SOC-R) and sense of community (SOC). It holds a potential to cross-fertilize the field of public management and contribute with an understanding of how community settings matter, which may potentially add to the understanding of how pro-social motivational forms matter to public service provision. Studies are being produced on how PSM, SOC-R and SOC interact in relation to employee engagement and well-being (Boyd et al., 2018), collaborative leadership behaviour (Nowell et al., 2016), and political leadership behaviour (Pedersen et al., 2020). These studies argue that SOC-R and SOC may shed light on the way community experience can be used in public service settings (Boyd et al., 2018).

This is an important issue, which we aim to take one step further by exploring the variation between the center and the periphery, since much – if not all – public service provision takes place in organizations and local communities. It is, however, not evident that it is prosocial motivational forms which make people take on the provision of service under challenging circumstances. Extrinsic and intrinsic motivational factors are both likely to be important explanatory factors (Brincker & Pedersen, 2020). One particular type of intrinsic motivation which has proved to be important to the recruitment of personnel to urgent tasks, such as going to war, is “excitement motivation” (Brænder, 2016). Now, without claiming any resemblance between being a soldier in war and being a school teacher in Greenland, this motivational form may still be worth paying attention to as excitement – as well as PSM – may be relevant to the recruitment of in particular immigrant school teachers, if they perceive to Greenland as remote and adventurous place.

Remoteness is often an aspect of what people perceive to be an authentic place, and furthermore authenticism can increase motivation and employability (Petersen, 2011: 21–23). Therefore, the case studied is the recruitment of school teachers in the Municipality of Sermersooq in Greenland. Geographically the municipality encompasses both some of the most remote and some of the most populated areas in Greenland, that is the capital Nuuk located at the West coast of Greenland and the main town in Eastern Greenland called Tasiilaq. As the cases are located in the same municipality they share a number of similarities with respect to governance structures and regulation. However, the two locations vary on the center-periphery dimension. While Nuuk, being the capital, is centrally placed in Greenland, Tasiilaq is much more remotely located on the East coast of Greenland. Thus, the research that this chapter reports upon is a comparative case study between recruitment and turnover in Nuuk, i.e., the center, and recruitment and turnover in Tasiilaq, i.e., the periphery. The central claim is that attraction to adventure is a more relevant motivational form in the periphery than the center. The periphery Tasiilaq is seen as an extreme. If attraction to motivation is not present here, it is unlikely that it holds a potential for recruitment in other remote locations.

The structure of the chapter is as follows. First, the paper engages with the theoretical framework, focusing on Public Service Motivation (PSM), Sense of Community Responsibility (SOC-R), Sense of Community (SOC), and excitement motivation (EM). Thereafter, it unfolds the methodological considerations that underlie the research that informs this chapter and offers insights into the data and how it was collected and analysed. This paves the way into the analysis that is in two parts: the first part concentrates on recruitment, the second on turnover, in West and East Greenland respectively. Finally, the paper briefly sums up its findings.

13.2 Concepts and Theory

In motivational research a central distinction is between self-oriented and other-oriented motivation. Recently, this has been supplemented with the distinction between the recipient as being identified versus un-identified. Whereas PSM researchers refer to the recipient as a ‘beneficiary’, we employ the term ‘referent’ to signify that albeit there is no beneficiary of self-oriented motivation, its fulfilment still takes place in an interplay with the external environment (Schott et al., 2019; Vandenabeele et al., 2018).

In line with this we make a distinction between four motivational forms (Brincker & Pedersen, 2020), see Table 13.1.

Table 13.1 Dimensional framework: PSM, SOC-R, SOC and EM

13.2.1 Sense of Community (SOC) and Sense of Community Responsibility (SOC-R)

SOC is defined as a feeling that members have of belonging, that they matter to one another and to the group, and that they have a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to be together (McMillan & Chavis, 1986). For SOC to be present, individuals have to both acknowledge their membership in the community and have it acknowledged by others. Individuals have to experience that their needs are fulfilled and that they can influence the collective. This is captured in the four sub-dimensions of SOC: membership, influence, needs fulfilment, and shared emotional connection (Nowell & Boyd, 2010; Boyd & Nowell, 2014). SOC-R has been formulated as an alternative conceptualization due to the limitations associated with a purely need-based approach to a psychological sense of community (Nowell & Boyd, 2010). SOC-R draws on alternative complementary perspectives that ascribe significance to values, norms, and feelings of responsibility towards others, and is defined as ‘a feeling of personal responsibility for the individual and collective well-being of a community of people not directly rooted in an expectation of personal gain’ (Nowell et al., 2016). SOC and SOC-R constitute two distinct models that reflect different theoretical traditions, which taken in combination offer a more complete understanding of psychological senses of community, but also share the understanding that a specific referent can be a motivational force also for other-regarding behaviors.

13.2.2 PSM

PSM has four sub-dimensions (Perry, 1996). First, attraction to public policy making (APP), a form of instrumental motivation, is directed at doing good for others through influencing organizational decision-making and implementation in order to build better framework conditions for public service. Second, commitment to the public interest (CPI) is a normative form of motivation, which refers to actions generated by efforts to conform to values and norms (Kim et al., 2013). Third, identification with a specific group is the core of affective reasons, and compassion (COM) is the dimension of PSM that is based on this type of reason (Andersen & Pedersen, 2013:841–842; Kim & Vandenabeele, 2010). The fourth dimension, self-sacrifice, serves as the footing and accelerator of the other three (Kim et al., 2013). Compared to SOC and SOC-R the referent of PSM is society or societal groups at a general level rather than specific communities, i.e., the referent of PSM is abstract and is often coined by referring to ‘the public good’ (Brincker & Pedersen, 2020).

13.2.3 Excitement Motivation (EM)

EM draws attention to the fulfilment of inner needs and can as such be seen as an intrinsic motivational factor. This is reflected in behavior as “people engage in the activity for its own sake, that is, because they experience the activity as inherently enjoyable and satisfying” (Ryan & Deci, 2000, 56). EM emerges in studies of soldiers’ motivation when deployed to war zones (Brænder, 2016; Brænder & Andersen, 2013). This research points to the significance of EM to the recruitment of personnel for urgent tasks. EM lies conceptually close to what psychologists call sensation seeking – that is “the need for varied, novel, and complex sensations and experiences, and the willingness to take physical and social risks for the sake of such experiences” (Zuckerman et al., 1978). As this definition confuses causes and effect, Braender defines EM as the desire for varied, novel, and complex sensations and experiences (Brænder, 2016, p. 4). Based upon two surveys conducted with Danish combat soldiers before and after their return to Helmand, Afghanistan, Morten Brænder detected that many were eager either to serve in Afghanistan again or to be deployed in similar areas under similar circumstances. The latter includes the danger of combat exposure. Additionally, the data indicated that the likelihood of accepting another deployment of the same type increased with the degree of combat exposure. Hence, Brænder observed a direct proportional relationship between combat exposure and deployment. It seemed that much to his disbelief soldiers returned wanting more (Brænder, 2016, p. 3). In search for a persuasive argument for why this is the case, Brænder turns to behavioral psychology and argues that much like real drug addicts develop a tolerance to their drug, soldiers can become ‘adrenalin junkies’ who move on to ‘the next fix’ when the excitement fades over time (Brænder, 2016; Andersen & Pedersen, 2013). In line with this, EM may hold the potential of recruiting personnel to remote areas in the periphery that may appear to involve adventure and excitement for many reasons, their remoteness being one of them.

13.2.4 Center and Periphery

The distinction between center and periphery has been employed by scholars from many different disciplines within social and political science and it has been applied to many different cases and contexts. The aim of the distinction is to capture internal differences and divisions within a country or a region in terms of economic development or lack thereof, socio-economic conditions, culture and so on. Hence, it is employed as an analytical tool to unfold internal boundaries within a region or a country.

When applying the distinction to Greenland, the country stands out as an extreme case. Greenland is the largest island in the world. It is inhabited by approximately 55.000 people who live along the coastal line with a predominance of settlements on the west coast. This includes 17.000 people living in the capital Nuuk, Greenland’s largest city, and another approximately 16.000 people residing in the four major cities north or south of Nuuk or in the Disco Bay area: Sisimiut (5500), Ilulissat (4500), Aasiaat (3100) and Manitsooq (2600). In sharp contrast, the entirety of Eastern Greenland is populated by only 3000 people, 2000 of whom live in the city of Tasiilaq. With the structural reform in 2009, the capital Nuuk and the entire region of Eastern Greenland was merged into one municipality – one of the largest in the world – which encompasses the very center of Greenland, i.e., the capital Nuuk, and the most remote and poorly developed periphery, i.e., Tasiilaq and Illorqoortormiut (Brincker, 2017).

Given that the center/periphery distinction is extremely pronounced in Greenland and especially in the Sermersooq Municipality, it is highly relevant to explore if, and if so how, it impacts motivation for recruitment and turnover among school teachers. However, the distinction should not be taken lightly. Critics have raised concerns that the distinction between center and periphery should not be considered an ontological phenomenon. Rather it should be seen as a social construction that perpetuates the categories of insider and outsider that it merely seeks to describe. Rather than reflecting existing boundaries, it contributes to their construction within a region or, in this case, a country (Brubaker, 2004; Malesevic, 2010). These concerns are important to keep in mind when using the distinction between center and periphery in an analysis of the role of motivation for recruitment and turnover. While they are relevant and important to keep in mind, it is equally important to recognize the fact that in the case of Greenland, the on-going social construction of internal divisions between insider and outsider are accentuated by geographical distance, a poor physical infrastructure which makes travelling between center (West) and periphery (East) very costly, and finally, language (Brincker, 2017).

13.3 Method and Expectations

In line with the interpretivist tradition, we do not aim to falsify the existence of particular motivational forms. The qualitative data collected is simply not suited for such falsification. Instead, we formulate expectations, which make our theoretical concepts and preconceptions explicit and which guide our qualitative analysis in order to provide an in-depth understanding of the motivational dimensions, and how they interact in processes of attraction and attrition.

The following expectations summarize the discussion above:

  1. (A)

    If employees expect that a certain job fits to their motivation (EM, PSM, SOC and/or SOC-R), they are attracted to this job.

  2. (B)

    If employees feel that their job fulfils at least one of their motivational needs (regarding EM, PSM, SOC and/or SOC-R) retention is achieved.

  3. (C)

    The motivational factors vary between the center and the periphery.

13.3.1 Research Design and Data

The comparative study between West Sermersooq (Nuuk) and East Sermersooq (Taiilaq) that informs this paper was conducted from August 2014 until May 2017. In Nuuk, four schools out of a total of six took part. They were selected according to criteria ensuring that they covered both the so-called old part of Nuuk, i.e., the highly urbanized center, and the new satellites, i.e., the suburbs. Furthermore, the four schools include state schools and a private school. In Tasiilaq there is only one school. In order to ensure the quality of the data collected at the school in Tasiilaq, we visited the school twice a year, i.e., in the beginning and in the end of the school year in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In so doing, we gained a unique insight into processes of and the motivational basis for recruitment and turnover at the school.

The study is exploratory and relies predominantly upon qualitative methods. It combines interviews with school managements and teachers, interviews with parents to school children, a mini-survey (in the first grade at Tasiilaq School (2014)) and finally class room observations (for details see Table 13.1). The interviews were semi-structured and open-ended. The shortest interview lasted 1 hour, and the longest, 2 hours. All interviews were conducted using an interview guide. The first section of the guide explored attraction and started out with the question: Why did you decide to take a position at Tasiilaq School? This was followed by queries about hopes and expectations associated with the position, and then a set of questions focusing on attrition enquiring whether the interviewee had – or had not – considered turnover and the reason for (not) doing so. All interviews were recorded and transcribed. The interviews were conducted in Danish except the interviews conducted in the context of the mini-survey among parents to first grade pupils at Tasiilaq School, which were carried out with the help of an East Greenlandic translator. The use of the Danish language as the working language reflects the fact that Danish is the first foreign language in Greenland and that education in Greenland from upper secondary school is conducted in Danish.

Besides relying upon qualitative data, the insights presented in the present paper are informed by descriptive statistics from Greenland Statistics and a number of reports by the Danish Institute for Evaluation (EVA) about the educational system in Greenland which were published in the past few years. Furthermore, the paper is informed by the annual reports submitted by state schools to the Sermersooq Municipality at the end of every school year. The reports from schools in Sermersooq Municipality are publicly available on the website of the municipality ( (Table 13.2).

Table 13.2 Overview of data

In analyzing the interviews, a two step coding approach was adopted using NVivo. First, the transcribed interviews went through an inductive coding process in which the four topics were identified: recruitment and turnover; teaching languages; social problems; and professional expertise and support. For the purpose of the present analysis, the topic of recruitment and turnover was analysed in depth. It went through a second deductive coding, which was conceptually guided and informed by the theoretical framework of this paper. In doing this, it became apparent that the significance and weight ascribed to recruitment and turnover varies from school to school. In some cases, recruitment and turnover are on-going concerns that the management of the school pays attention to and handles. In other schools, they are extremely pertinent and pressing challenges that confront and at times disturb management, teachers and students every day. This led to the formulation of the overall expectation that the motivational forms relevant to recruitment and turnover vary between center and periphery.

Before turning to the analysis, it is important to acknowledge a number of limitations in method and data which are common to qualitative studies. Even though the interviews are repeated in the East Greenland case, and have all been conducted by the same investigator, it is still a small sample of the population. Furthermore, in the present analysis, the sample is treated as one uniform group and in the reporting we have not stratified the interviewees according to nationality, regional identity, gender, or early/late career. In this context, it is important to recognize that the sample reflects the fact that Tasiilaq school relies to a large extent upon teachers recruited from Denmark. This is not the case with the schools in Nuuk. The difference in sample between East and West Greenland may affect the findings of this study, especially with respect to the presence/absence of excitement motivation. We explore this elsewhere (Brincker & Pedersen, 2020).

13.4 Analysis

The following analysis presents the result. The first section explores recruitment. It is divided into two parts. The first part explores motivation in the center (Nuuk) and the periphery (Tasiilaq) respectively. The second part takes the analysis to the conceptual level. It explores if and if so how types of motivation, i.e., PSM and excitement motivation, constitute contrasts. This is followed by the second section that analyses turnover and engages with SOC and SOC-R as possible mitigating factors.

13.4.1 Analysis I: Why Do Teachers Seek Employment in West/East Greenland?

Analysis 4.1.1: Being Motivated in Nuuk and Tasiilaq (Table 13.3)

Table 13.3 Motivation in Nuuk and Tasiilaq

When analyzing the data from the school in Tasiilaq, two types of motivation stand out: attraction to adventure and compassion as a central component of PSM. The attraction to adventure is intimately linked to the remote and peripheral nature of Eastern Greenland. It captures the excitement stemming from going sailing, dog sledging during winter, and even having your own pack of dogs, which several of the interviewees had. These are reasons why the interviewees decided to carry out their job as teachers under circumstances that were exceptionally difficult and challenging. These circumstances include very poor housing conditions for many and a working environment that is strongly influenced by the fact that abuse and poor child welfare is unfortunately part of everyday life.

When exploring the motivational basis for recruitment at Tasiilaq school, compassion, as an aspect of public sector motivation, was another significant motivation for taking up a job in one of the most remote and isolated parts of Greenland. The experience of working as a teacher with children who do not have the most basic things and the satisfaction of gradually developing relations with them through various activities at the school were pronounced drivers among many of the teachers at the school.

When comparing the motivation to take up a position at a school in Nuuk and a similar position at the school in Tasiilaq, there are pronounced differences. When exploring what motivates immigrant school teachers to take up a job in Nuuk, two factors stand out: Their motivation to do good stems from an abstract notion of serving public interest. Hence, teachers in Nuuk expressed the hope to be able to contribute to the improvement of the quality of education through their work as teachers and to pave the way to a better future both for the abstract notion of the individual child and for society at large. This in turn taps into the other motivational basis that we detected among teachers in Nuuk, namely attraction to policy making. Also in the context of this type of motivation, teachers in Nuuk seem to be attracted to the school as an organization and the educational system as a platform ‘to do good’, rather than the concrete individual child or groups of children. When asked if they would ever consider taking up a position as a teacher in Eastern Greenland, they rejected this option. They preferred to invest their energy in school on the west coast, most notably Nuuk, where they believed they could make a difference.

When carrying out interviews with teachers and management at schools in West and East Sermersooq respectively and comparing their motivation, it becomes clear that both groups identify an element of self-sacrifice as an innate part of being a teacher. However, they do so in different ways. In West Sermersooq both teachers and managers underline that being a teacher is more than just a job. It is a calling. Hence, self-sacrifice has to be addressed in the context of the teachers’ profession. Furthermore, self-sacrifice feeds into and accentuates the two most pronounced types of public sector motivation that we found in this group: Their motivation to deliver public service as reflected in a particular set of norms and values (commitment to public interest) and their desire to feed into policy making in order to improve it (attraction to policy making).

In East Sermersooq, self-sacrifice had an entirely different character. Several of the teachers lived under housing conditions that were relatively poor compared to those of most other cities in Greenland, including poor sanitary facilities, the fact that the city is partially isolated half of the year, 4 months of complete darkness, and an internet connection with very low functionality. While teachers in East Sermersooq spoke of the poor living conditions as a nuisance, they also considered them part of the adventure. We thus found that self-sacrifice is intimately linked to excitement motivation – a point to which we shall return. A similar pattern was found in the case of compassion, though it was not pronounced to the same extent.

The fact that different types of motivation appeared to interact with each other in our data paves the way into the conceptual part of the analysis, which explores contrasting motivations and addresses the question if and if so how types of motivation, i.e., PSM and excitement motivation, constitute contrasts that influence motivation.

Analysis 4.1.2: Contrasting Motivations in Sermersooq (Table 13.4)

Table 13.4 Contrasting motivations

When analyzing and comparing the data from the school in Tasiilaq with the schools in Nuuk it became clear that different types of motivation interact. In some cases, they even constitute contrasts to one another. In both Tasiilaq and Nuuk, we found the pattern that adventure constitutes a contrast to policy making and commitment to public interest as two types of public service motivation. Hence, teachers at Tasiilaq School whose motivational basis was informed by adventure expressed a lack of interest in policy making and commitment to public interest. In some cases, they even described these forms of public service motivation as demotivating seeing them as far removed from ‘real life’. These teachers had deliberately chosen the location of East Sermersooq because it offered them something that West Sermersooq could not possibly offer: the thrill of the adventure and the sensation of an overwhelming nature. The teachers based in Nuuk in turn were not willing to take up a job as a teacher in East Sermersooq. They simply could not see the point of being tucked away in the periphery of Greenland far from where it was possible to really make a difference. In their perspective, to make a difference was not attached to any concrete individual child or group of children. Instead, they were motivated to make a difference by improving the quality of education in Greenland. In this context, Nuuk offered the perfect setting. Thus, the data that informs the present analysis suggest that there is an inverse proportional relationship between excitement motivation and public service motivation: attraction to policy-making and commitment to public interest. If a teacher is attracted to adventure the motivation of the same teacher is highly unlikely also to be triggered by policy making and commitment to public interest. Those types of motivation constitute contrasts and appear to out rule each other.

The sharp contrasts that we found between excitement motivation and PSM (policy making and public interest) were not as pronounced in the cases of compassion. In the case of the former the two types of motivation, i.e., adventure and compassion, seem to co-exist at the school in Tasiilaq (which is the only case where we can explore this relationship since that the schools in Nuuk are not characterised by excitement motivation). There are few overlaps, if any, between adventure and compassion. However, they do not constitute contrasts. Instead, those teachers who were motivated by adventure were aware of compassion as an alternative type of motivation that they themselves were not subject to. Along similar lines, those teachers who were attracted and recruited to Tasiilaq School because of compassion paid attention to adventure as an alternative. They were even able to identify colleagues who were triggered by it. However, they themselves did not have the heart for it. Hence, our data indicate that excitement motivation and compassion as a type of PSM do not constitute contrasts. The two only interact to a limited degree.

Whereas there is only limited interaction between compassion and excitement as two forms of motivation, it appears that adventure and self-sacrifice feed into each other. Our data indicate that there is a direct proportional relationship between excitement motivation and self-sacrifice and that there are very few – if any – contrasts between the two. Thus, teachers whose motivational basis for taking up a position at the school in Tasiilaq was predominantly triggered by adventure often mentioned self-sacrifice as part of the adventure. They unfolded their unusual and from a modern European point of view rather uncivilized living conditions, and they told tales of how they had in many instances been at risk, potentially sacrificing their good health in the pursuit of a life as a teacher in Tasiilaq. It is possible to detect an element of neo-paternalism in this scenario. Immigrants workers – in the present case teachers typically recruited from the former colonial power, Denmark – take up positions in the former colony. They are attracted by adventure (EM) and are apparently willing to self-sacrifice in pursuit of their endeavor ‘out in the wilderness’ of the former colony. It raises the question of how this form of motivation and orientation towards adventure is perceived by the local community and of course the school management.

13.4.2 Analysis II – Why Do Teacher Leave Their Positions in West/East Greenland

During our interviews in West and East Sermersooq, both teachers and managers were asked about their motivation for taking up a position at a school in West and East Sermersooq and for considering abandoning it. In this context, it is important to bear in mind that schools in Nuuk are not confronted with the same degree of teacher turnover as the school in Tasiilaq, which has a teacher turnover of approximately 30% every year (trained teachers). Hence, the question of turnover is much more pressing in the East than in the West. In Eastern Greenland, even if you are not yourself considering moving on, you are constantly confronted with the coming and going of both colleagues and managers, and this is likely to affect your work life. Therefore, turnover is a topic that is discussed openly and frequently in the East, whereas it receives far less attention in the West. In both cases, however it was legitimate to discuss turnover and we had full access to these data to the extent that they exist.

The most obvious thing that stands out when coding for motivation in an analysis of turnover among teachers at Tasiilaq school is that excitement motivation constitutes a motivational basis for both recruitment and turnover. Hence, when teachers explained why they had decided to abandon their job at the school they told that they no longer found the place, i.e., Eastern Greenland, exciting. The adventure had lost its attraction. We visited the school in the beginning and again at the end of the each school year in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Given that the school has a 30% turnover among its trained teachers every year, many of the teachers that we interviewed at the end of the school year were departing. Often, they felt the urge to move on because they no longer found the place thrilling.

Several of the head masters that we interviewed in Tasiilaq were keenly aware of the fact that while adventure may attract teachers to the school, it also makes the same teachers leave again. Hence, they were generally very critical towards hiring teachers who appeared to be looking for an adventure in Eastern Greenland because they felt unsure as to whether this group of teachers would contribute to continuity and stability. While they accepted that adventure constitutes a factor that attracts teachers to schools in the remote and poorly developed parts of Greenland, they were concerned to make sure that this was not the only motivational basis that inspired applicants to take up a position in East Sermersooq. An obvious possibility was to seek to couple excitement motivation with compassion as a form of public service motivation particularly when bearing in mind the conclusion drawn in the previous section that the two types of motivation appear to co-exist. However, just as excitement motivation has its dark side, so does compassion. Many teachers in this part of Greenland are driven by compassion. They have great ambitions for helping some of those children who suffer various types of hardship. However, teachers who are emotionally driven by compassion risk becoming greatly disappointed because things do not work out the way, they had expected, and disappointment leads to burn out and derecruitment. Hence, although compassion seen as a dimension of PSM may constitute a remedy against turn over triggered by excitement motivation, it may also generate turn over itself.

Our study indicates clearly that although turnover is pronounced among both local and immigrant teachers, turnover triggered especially by fading excitement motivation and PSM compassion occur particularly often among immigrant teachers. Therefore, it was an ongoing concern among head masters in Tasiilaq School to recruit teachers whose form of motivation was not only adventure/compassion, and who as a minimum gave the impression of having the capacity and wish to develop other forms of motivation during their employment. One headmaster in particular was eager to ignite a sense of community (SOC) and ultimately a sense of community responsibility (SOCR) among the newly recruited teachers. This entailed setting up small groups among the teachers who engaged in social activities after work, for instance, chess, a book club or hiking. These initiatives became an important element in retaining immigrant teachers and thus creating stability and continuity at the school. Head masters revealed how when reading a CV they were inclined to read it upside-down, i.e., starting with the personal interests of the applicant that are usually displayed at the end of a CV to see if there was a match with the social activities in the community, before turning to the applicant’s formal qualifications. Returning to the theoretical framework that guides this analysis, this draws out attention towards the fact that forms of motivation that have a specific referent, i.e., SOC and SOC-R, may mitigate some of the problems associated with turnover. If this is indeed the case – and more research is needed to substantiate this finding further – it constitutes an important lesson for practitioners who struggle to deal with and ultimately limit turnover among teachers, especially those who do so from a position of being located in isolated and remote areas.

13.5 Conclusion

This chapter set out to analyze the motivational bases for recruitment and turnover in the educational sector in Greenland comparing the center and the periphery. The results indicate that motivational forms differ in recruitment to the center vs. the periphery. Employees who are both driven by excitement motivation and compassion and willingness to self-sacrifice seek employment on the East coast. In contrast, excitement motivation is not found to be a strong motivational factor on the West coast. Instead, the normative and the instrumental dimensions of PSM are pronounced in this part of Greenland, though we also we find self-sacrifice here.

Besides engaging with recruitment, the chapter has also explored turnover among trained school teachers in the East and West coasts of Greenland respectively. Acknowledging the fact that turnover is a pressing issue in both the center and the periphery, the study reveals that it is the most pronounced in the periphery and, furthermore, that it is most prevalent among immigrant teachers whose driving motivation for recruitment is excitement motivation (EM) or PSM compassion. The study draws attention to the role that a sense of community (SOC) and a sense of community responsibility (SOC-R) may have in adding more dimensions to teachers’ motivation once recruited, and points to SOC and SOC-R as potential mitigating factors against high teacher turnover.