Public service motivation and public service behaviors: Testing the moderating effect of tenure

Ulrich Jensen, Christian Fischer Vestergaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Providers of public services are expected to act upon their motivation to deliver public service with the purpose of doing good for others and society (public service motivation [PSM]). While existing studies seem to support this claim, methodological shortcomings question the validity of their conclusions. We analyze the relationship between PSM and the use of home visits among Danish general medical practitioners (GPs) using a panel research design to examine how changes in PSM dimensions relate to changes in objectively measured public service behaviors. We show that GPs alter their public service behaviors according to changes in their level of self-sacrifice and compassion, as predicted by PSM theory. Importantly, we also find that behavioral effects are conditional on tenure. Longer-tenured GPs alter their public service behaviors less strongly in response to changes in their level of PSM. The findings imply that PSM is malleable and that PSM is a particular workable lever in changing public service behaviors among shorter-tenured public service providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-67
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing

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