Abstract Can data collectors be “pushed” into collecting high quality data or would being “pulled” be more effective? This paper finds that managers should be careful of the degree to which “push” factors, such as managerial pressure and technological input control, are relied upon. While they may be helpful for motivating those data collectors who are not intrinsically motivated, they are either not helpful or may discourage those data collectors who are intrinsically motivated. Instead, self-concordance may act as a longer-term, more stable approach to increasing the motivation of data collectors and thus increasing the quality of data that enter reliability systems. This study uses a sequential mixed-method approach involving interviews with 20 data collectors and a quantitative survey of 109 data collectors in a water utility. It examines the interactive effect of managerial pressure, technological input control and self-concordance on data collection performance.