Examining short-term stability in motivation for work in public service

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
John-Luke McCord (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://library.wcu.edu/
Christopher Cooper

Abstract: Numerous studies have demonstrated that public service motivation (PSM) is positivelyassociated with various work-related outcomes such as performance, commitment, andsatisfaction. However, recent research has begun to question whether PSM influences or isinfluenced by these workplace factors. The construct has historically been conceptualized as atrait-like characteristic of an individual. This trend of research has demonstrated that PSM canbe affected by workplace experiences, like exposure to and internalization of values held byothers, but these findings illustrate only long-term effects. Factors that can influence animmediate change in levels of PSM have yet to be investigated. Demonstrating that PSM can beimmediately influenced may indicate that the construct also contains state-like qualities. Thepresent research therefore sought to test the short-term stability of PSM with experimentalmanipulation meant to influence participants’ regard for public service values. Participants wereexposed to one of three video conditions and then asked to complete Perry’s (1996) PSMinstrument. Analysis found little substantial evidence that PSM was affected in the short-term by the experimental manipulation. The lack of significant findings is discussed in terms oflimitations that extend to PSM research in general. The author suggests that the present research was limited by issues of content and construct validity. There seemed to be a mismatch between the instrument and sample used for the study and, more importantly, the results did not provide evidence that the latent construct of motivation was assessed by the instrument. Suggestions for future PSM research are provided and the author also proposes a framework for further research investigating the stability of the construct.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Motivation, Public Service Motivation, Work Motivation
Civil service -- Personnel management
Employee motivation
Motivation (Psychology) -- Testing

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