Activating the Forces of Public Service Motivation: Evidence from a Low‐Intensity Randomized Survey Experiment

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Employees with higher public service motivation (PSM) are likely to perform better in public service jobs. However, research on how practitioners may capitalize on this knowledge is sparse. This article expands the understanding of how to activate employee PSM, which is understood as a human resource that is present in the work environment. Using a randomized survey experiment with 528 law students, this article shows how low‐intensity treatments may activate PSM and how the effect of PSM activation efforts compares with efforts to activate another, less self‐determined type of motivation (relating to the need for feelings of self‐importance). The findings are robust and suggest that low‐intensity efforts to activate PSM have a positive effect on an individual's behavioral inclinations. However, efforts toward the activation of motivation relating to feelings of self‐importance appear to engender an effect of similar size
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)734-746
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ID: 227087443