Antecedents of Public Service Motivation : a Study of Swedish Municipalities

University essay from Högskolan Kristianstad/Fakulteten för ekonomi; Högskolan Kristianstad/Fakulteten för ekonomi

Abstract: Public Service Motivation is a concept of a rather short history. It refers to an altruistic form of motivation to serve the interests of a broader community and appears in the way individuals react towards motives grounded mainly within public institutions. Public administration literature claims that some people have a set of attributes making them more predisposed to positively react towards the special calling of contributing to the community. Although Public Service Motivation has received increased interest from researchers, there is lack of research about the concept within Swedish context.   Understanding the concept of Public Service Motivation and its underlying antecedents can contribute with solutions to problems faced by public institutions. Previous research suggests antecedents of three main categories: individual, socio-historical and organizational. The individuals are motivated by their unique norms and emotions, events and experiences that shape their beliefs and organizational codes of conduct that emphasize or constrain individuals’ behavior. This study aims to fill the gap of lacking research about Public Service motivation within the Swedish context by examining the impact of potential antecedents concerning all three categories.   The data necessary to conduct this study was gathered by an online survey distributed among all Swedish municipalities, addressing managers and employees mainly with an administrative role. The study provided some interesting results which can possibly bring theoretical and practical contributions for the future. It has been demonstrated that individuals’ openness and perseverance, along with positive parental socialization, religiousness and political ideology affects Public Service Motivation. The study also showed that individuals that feel satisfied with their job and individuals who achieved managerial position have a higher Public Service Motivation.    Public Service Motivation is a topic that is increasingly recognized and debated. However, there is still room for future studies, especially within Swedish context. This study provided research about antecedents of Public Service Motivation and a study of effects could serve as a fine complement.

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