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- Paper prepared for the IRSPM, 6-9 April, Bern


Motivating Employees of the Public Sector: Does Public Service Motivation Matter?

Simon Anderfuhren-Biget, University of Geneva (Switzerland) Frédéric Varone, University of Geneva (Switzerland) David Giauque, University of Lausanne (Switzerland) Adrian Ritz, University of Bern (Switzerland)

Abstract: This article analyses if, and to what extent, the Public Service Motivation (PSM) construct has an added-value to explain work motivation in the public sector. In order to address the specificity of PSM when studying work motivation, the theoretical model underlying this empirical study compares PSM with two other explanatory factors: material incentives such as performance-related pay, and team relations and support such as recognition by superiors. This theoretical model is then tested with data collected in a national survey of 3754 civil servants at the Swiss municipal level. Results of a Structural Equations Model clearly show the relevance of PSM. They also provide evidence for the importance of socio-relational motivating factors, whereas material incentives play an anecdotal role, suggesting the potential crowding-out of intrinsic motivation.

Keywords: Public Service Motivation, Motivation, Recognition, Team-Relations, Material Incentives, Structural Equation Modelling, Extrinsic-Intrinsic Motivation, Crowding-Out effect

Corresponding author:
Simon Anderfuhren-Biget (Research assistant, Phd. Student). University of Geneva, department of political sciences. Corresponding address:

Work in progression, please do not cite without the prior and explicit authorization of the author

1. Introduction Motivated employees are the cornerstones of all organizations, as work motivation is one crucial determinant of individual and organizational performance. This holds true in the private, the public and the non-profit sectors. Work motivation is thus a great concern of academic scholars, managers and business consultants. Many paradigms and theories have sought to answer the longstanding question: "What motivates employees?" This article focuses on the work motivation construct, applied to the public sector. It tries to identify the combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors explaining why public employees show varying levels of work motivation. Its originality relies on the construction of an integrative model of work motivation in the public sector. This model combines competing but not mutually exclusive motivational factors. Furthermore, it includes human resources management (HRM) practices such as performance related pay as extrinsic factors in relation to Public Service Motivation and the need to interact in a supportive work environment, where an individual’s efforts are recognized, as intrinsic factors of motivation.

Competing hypotheses on the impact of various factors on work motivation are of course rooted in more profound considerations of what drives the actions of human beings, resulting in differentiated visions of human rationalities. In a nutshell, human beings are either selfish or altruistic. According to this ideal-typical dichotomy, public employees are either Knights or Knaves (Le Grand 2006). In the literature on public administration and management, motivation of public employees has consequently been studied from (at least) two opposing approaches. The first one, inspired by Public Choice theories, maintains that public employees behave according to: "a canny maximization of self-interest" (Sen 1995: 2). This conception of public employees’ motives has obviously penetrated the public sphere during the New Public Management (NPM) academic debate and the subsequent practical reforms (Giauque 2003; Pollitt and Bouckaert 2004; Osborne and Gaebler 1992). This NPM vision of work motivation was concretely translated into the introduction of HRM tools originally coming from private business management such as performance-related pay (Forest 2008; Perry, Engbers, and Jun 2009). This HRM strategy largely aims at motivating public employees by the fulfilment of their extrinsic needs. The second approach we consider here is the Public Service Motivation (PSM) construct that has been proposed in opposition to this managerial trend (Perry and Wise 1990; Perry and Hondeghem 2008c). This construct is clearly part of the broad category of "needs-theories" of motivation (Perry and Wise 1990). It brings values and identity components back into work 2

motivation theories (Shamir 1991) and argues that public employees are stirred by higher order drives. It clearly puts the emphasis on the disinterested, altruistic and pro-socially oriented work behaviour in the public sector, even if a rational dimension (attraction to policy making) is part of the construct (Perry and Wise 1990). The PSM construct can be seen as a counterweight to the rational choice theories then dominating the field (Perry 2000; Perry and Vandenabeele 2008) and which stressed that human behaviours may exclusively be explained by individual psychological mechanisms regarding self-interest (Dardot and Laval 2009). In a word, the PSM construct was developed to broaden the theory of work motivation in public organizations and it postulates that public employees are specific insofar as they behave differently from their private sector counterparts and are not driven by extrinsic motives alone (Barrows and Wesson 2000; Blais, Blake, and Dion 1990; Boyne 2002; Rainey 1983; Rainey 1982; Rainey and Bozeman 2000; Bright 2009).

Many empirical studies have so far measured the level of PSM in various public organizations (Perry and Hondeghem 2008a) and have then tested the antecedents of PSM (e.g. sociodemographic factors), its outcomes (e.g. individual performance) or its correlates (e.g.

organizational commitment) (For an overview, see: Pandey and Stazyk 2008). If the relationship between PSM and job satisfaction has been studied in depth (Naff and Crum 1999; Park and Rainey 2007; Park and Rainey 2008; Taylor 2007; Taylor 2008; Bright 2008; Steijn 2008), the impact of PSM on work motivation remains clearly under studied. This article proposes to fill this gap by analysing the explanatory power of PSM for work motivation in the public sector. Furthermore, in order to address the relevance and specificity of the PSM construct when studying work motivation in the public sector, the theoretical model and the empirical study have to compare PSM with other explanatory factors of work motivation also drawn from "need theories" (i.e. material incentives and team relations and support). So our research question reads as follows: "What is the added-value of PSM compared with competing factors in explaining work motivation in the public sector?"

To answer this question we first developed an integrative model which combines PSM, material incentives and team relations and support from the organization as independent variables, work motivation being the dependent variable. We then tested this model, using a structural equation modelling approach, with data collected in a national survey of 3754 civil servants at the Swiss municipal level. The main results of our empirical study show that PSM has real added-value in explaining work motivation in the public sector. Team relations and 3

This concept is related to the nature of the individual’s investment in his/her professional role (Michel 1994) besides other potential roles. while material incentives are a poor predictor of work motivation. 2. Schneider. Michel 1994). and Nygren 1970. the direction. however. satisfaction (in this case work. Work motivation. this concept is of particular interest. Meyer and Allen 1991) is a psychological state characterizing the link between an individual and his or her organization and it is closely related to the decision to stay within it or leave (Vandenberghe 2005). Porter. 176). and Nygren 1970. between his or her expectations and the perception of the obtained results (Locke 1976. Theoretical model and hypotheses 2. Hall. Because patterns can be identified in the actions of employees at work. Van Dick 2004a) characterizes: "the process by which the goals of the organization and those of the individual become increasingly integrated or congruent" (Hall. the intensity and the persistence of behaviour" (Vallerand and Thill 4 . On the other hand. Many theories and definitions of this construct compete to explain what motivates people and how they are motivated (Kanfer 1990). several concepts are often misunderstood (Maugeri 2004). whereas work involvement aims at a comprehensive understanding of the way an individual projects him/herself into work and identifies with the job. and Steers 1982. different concepts focus on the attachment to the organization. Organizational commitment (eg: Mowday. Apart from the diversity of conceptualizations and measurements of what induces employees to put energy and heart into a given task.1. It is the primary determinant of performance for both private and public sectors. Ashforth and Mael 1989. Work Motivation Work motivation is a longstanding topic in organizational studies (Lévy-Leboyer 2006).support also appear to be an important motivator of public employees. most authors nowadays agree with the basic premise that: "the concept of motivation represents a hypothetical construct used to describe the internal and/or external forces producing the induction. job satisfaction) is a psychological state characterizing the interaction between an individual and his or her organization. These preliminary results suggest the relevance of the PSM construct for motivation theories within the public sector and open promising new avenues of research. Schneider. is a process by which the employee decides to work hard and sustain his/her efforts. In organizational studies. Organizational identification (eg: Foote 1951. On the one hand.

According to this definition. team relations and support and material incentives. motive and value theories (Maslow 1954. Here we focus on three main categories of motivators: Public Service Motivation (PSM). 13). this energy has to be deployed toward organizational goals and objectives. Need. Mausner. which explains that public employees behave according to specific. Deci and Ryan 1985) focus on the individual (internal) or situational (external) determinants of behaviour. PSM was initially defined as the "individual's predisposition to respond to motives grounded primarily or uniquely in public institutions or organizations" (Perry and Wise 1990. before being integrated in a global model which also includes some control variables. A more recent definition 5 .that is. Herzberg. (Herzberg 1971). Against the background of these work motivation theories. 54). several needs or motives can be identified throughout the literature. This construct relates to the individual's project. 368). For a work organization. Later. Herzberg’s two factor theory (hygiene and motivation) posits that these two categories function differently and that it is the motivation factors which increase satisfaction while hygienic factors only serve to reduce dissatisfaction.2. Alderfer 1969. More associated with work motivation questions. "Orientation of the motivation concerns the underlying attitudes and goals that give rise to action . empirical research about PSM has increased over the last 20 years (Perry and Hondeghem 2008b). Contrary to the PSM construct. self-determination theory introduced the intrinsic-extrinsic dichotomy into motivation theories (Deci and Ryan 1985. it concerns the why of action" (Ryan and Deci 2000. They share the fact that motivation arises when individuals seek optimal satisfaction of certain needs (Roussel 2000). 2. "Need theories" were developed on the back of Maslow's hierarchy of human needs (Maslow 1954). Public Service Motivation In public management. motivation is a meta-concept which comprehensively focuses on the efforts and energy deployed by an individual when acting in a given setting.1993. Herzberg 1971. it is one of the fundamental concepts of HRM in the public sector (Coursey and Pandey 2007a). the general meaning that he/she attributes to his/her actions and behaviours (Michel 1994). Ryan and Deci 2000). value-laden motives. work motivation is a generic concept explaining why employees deploy and sustain energy at work. As matter of fact. The expected impact of each category of variables on work motivation is presented in the following paragraphs. and Snyderman 1959. founded particularly in the public sector environment.

Steijn 2008). Because of its altruistic component.emphasises its institutional properties and determination of value-laden behaviour. In doing so. In the appropriate literature. Taylor 2007. Vandenabeele and his colleagues tested non-sector specific motivation theories. In other words. "Commitment to the public interest". individuals with a high level of PSM are likely to seek jobs in the public sphere (Perry and Wise 1990. In a study looking at the motivational patterns underlying the choices made by civil servants and students in Belgium. and is composed of four dimensions. 547). Bright 2008. few studies have tested the assumption that PSM has an effect on work motivation. The exploratory research conducted by Cerase and Farinella (Cerase and Farinella 2006) on the motivation of Italian officials shows that the four dimensions of PSM are differently 6 . the motivation of public employees is oriented toward the realisation of the values and goals of public service through an identification process. Its empirical operationalization. Taylor 2008). They will also be more satisfied with their jobs (Naff and Crum 1999. The PSM construct demonstrates its theoretical relevance because it gives information about the orientation of the motivation. Surprisingly. PSM consists in the fulfilment of higher order needs. "Compassion" and "Self-Sacrifice". in the PSM literature high scores for PSM dimensions indicate strong motivation of public employees. 2004). PSM should be understood as a particular kind of motivation in the public sector (Perry and Hondeghem 2008b). is diverse and suffers from controversies (Wright 2008). values and attitudes that go beyond self-interest and organizational interest. One can thus argue that the will to act in congruence (Festinger 1957) or in consistence (Bandura 1986) with one’s own values or principles is a specific need or motive of public employees. According to a PSM perspective. Vandenabeele 2008. Initially it was developed for the North American context. Values and goals of public service are part of the self-definition of certain public employees and determine the justification of their behaviour. even if its conceptual characteristics are closer to an identification or a value-fit construct. PSM seems to be substituted for usual (non-domain characterized) work motivation measures. As for a "need theory" framework. Consequently. in terms of measurement. that concern the interest of a larger political entity and that motivate individuals to act accordingly whenever appropriate" (Vandenabeele 2007a. PSM represents "the beliefs. namely "Attraction to politics and policy making". Their results show that PSM is an important and particular element of the motivational characteristics of public employees (Vandenabeele et al.

"Self-Sacrifice" and "Bureaucratic governance" are positively correlated to work motivation. We thus formulate the following research hypothesis: PSM has a positive impact on work motivation in the public sector (hypothesis 1). Crewson 1997) and Europe (Buelens and Van den Broeck 2007). it has been widely demonstrated that public employees are less motivated by monetary rewards than private ones and that the most critical motivator in the public sector was the desire to serve the common interest. While the former refer to the inherent satisfaction linked with undertaking an activity. it is reasonable to take all four dimensions of the PSM construct into account. Material incentives Since the seminal book of Deci and Ryan. In particular they are more inclined to disregard extrinsic elements such as pay and monetary rewards and to value intrinsic job characteristics. and Brown 1998. Comparative studies of the motivational patterns of public and private sector employees’ motives (Solomon 1986. Both material incentives and team relations may play a very important role in the motivational process of civil servants. seeking for a prosocial impact of their actions (Grant 7 . Massey. Its results concerning work motivation demonstrate that two of the four original PSM dimensions ("Commitment to the public interest" and "Compassion") have significant influences on work motivation with the influence being negative for the "Compassion" dimension. Jurkiewicz. and Higgins 2006. In a nutshell. J. Comparative studies have consistently demonstrated that public employees have different motives from private ones. 2. Taylor’s Australian study is also a dimensional analysis of PSM in relation to work outcomes (Taylor 2007). the distinction between intrinsic drives and extrinsic factors has become a classic among motivation theories (Deci and Ryan 1985).3. "Attraction to politics and policy making" is positively correlated to a measure of non-motivation. Of course PSM is just one specific factor explaining work motivation and several other motivational factors do also have an effect on work behaviours of public employees (Vandenabeele and Ban 2009). These empirical results are validated both in North-America (Jurkiewicz. Lyons. whereas "Commitment to the public interest". On the basis of these theoretical arguments and first diverging empirical results. Massey. Duxbury. the latter concern the outcomes of this activity (Ryan and Deci 2000). Those results are however preliminary and need further analysis.correlated to work motivation. Rainey 1982. and Brown 1998) clearly suggest the appropriateness of an approach integrating additional explanatory factors to which we turn now.

Those results are largely confirmed in other countries (Pilichowski 2009). and Jun 2009). Perry. performance-related pay has missed its expected goal. In Switzerland. it makes sense to put the emphasis on the socio-relational 8 . empirical studies indicate that an increase in extrinsic motivators may even reduce the positive impacts of intrinsic factors on work motivation. has a detrimental effect and can even de-motivate public servants as it undermines intrinsically motivated public employees (Marsden and Richardson 1992). 2. we formulate a second research hypothesis: Material incentives have a negative impact on work motivation in the public sector (hypothesis 2). Such a “crowding-out effect” (Frey and Jegen 2001) was observed in different institutional settings and might explain the (partial) failure of performance-related pay reward schemes to enhance the motivational level of public servants and the performance of public organizations (Weibel. First. other intrinsic motivators are also relevant in the public sector such as team relations and support. because the survey on which this study relies was not designed specifically around this intrinsic trio. For instance.2008) (from a PSM perspective). and Osterloh 2009. opportunities and incentives that fulfil the higher-level needs of individuals are intrinsic factors (Bright 2009). French. Relying on these previous findings. autonomy and relatedness (Deci and Ryan 2000). Engbers. performance-related pay is widespread among municipal public services (Steiner 2000). The intrinsic-extrinsic dichotomy is rooted in the selfdetermination theory of motivation (Deci and Ryan 1985) which argues that individuals are driven by the search for competences. the study of Marsden and his team of English civil servants clearly shows that public employees are sceptical about the usefulness of performance-related pay: they doubt both its incentive and its rewarding effects (Marsden. Therefore. PSM can obviously be seen as an intrinsic motivator in public management due to its capacity to fulfil higher order needs (Perry and Wise 1990). OECD 2005. Moreover. one of the most critical factors in the direct environment of a public employee are colleagues and superiors (Perry and Porter 1982). We focus on the latter issue for two reasons. the appropriate perspective on intrinsic motivation considers that need-based components. Team relations and support According to the psychological literature. Secondly.4. Rost. Experimental designs looking at the motivations of volunteers also give proof of this undermining effect (Fehr and Gächter 2002). However. Furthermore. and Kubo 2001).

Whitener also found a significant statistical relationship between the degree of organizational commitment and employees’ perception of organizational support (Whitener 2001). This feeling is the core of the concept of perceived organizational support which measures employees’: “global beliefs concerning the extent to which the organization values their contributions and cares about their well-being” (Eisenberger et al. One of the principal mechanisms by which these experiences of work lead to such a desirable outcome is a feeling of being supported and valued. feel indebted to their enterprise and respond to the favourable treatment they 9 . Employees are grateful for the support they receive. Jimenez-Jimenez and Sanz-Valle 2005) and induces employees to adopt discretionary behaviour in line with the interests of the organization (MacDuffie 1995). to have positive experiences at work to enhance the development of organizational commitment and work motivation. In a survey of 1689 employees of credit institutions. This relational process. Méda. as part of intrinsic motivation (Deci and Ryan 2000). and Prennushi 1997). it is also a strong factor in well-being in the work setting. Moreover. stimulates creativity and innovation within organizational structures (Andriopoulos 2001. 501). We take it as a given that those elements are based on two complementary perspectives. Lamontagne 2006). The relevance of this approach is supported by empirical studies suggesting that the adoption of such HRM systems leads to better production and financial results (Delaney and Huselid 1996. 1986. Garner. Ichniowski. has been defined as follows: Recognition is a reaction expressed within the short term after a specific or general action or behaviour which the individual perceives to merit a positive and personalised response (Bourcier and Palobart 1997). Shaw. Thus HRM practices should promote working conditions that enable the employee's identification with organizational objectives. Ellen M.components of the working team. scientific literature regarding HRM practices points out the importance of such socio-relational components in the building of an organizational culture which stimulates creativity and innovation (Martins and Terblanche 2003). founded in a humanist perspective of work relations. it is important. or even vital. The first one focuses on the relational aspects of the interaction of individuals at work. Sainsaulieu 1988. For many scholars. Such positive feedback is a determinant element of motivation and performance for the members of the working team (Stajkovic 2003. and Senik 2006. Dubar 1992). The second one concerns the recognition processes by colleagues and superiors and highlights subjective and affective elements of work motivation. French sociology of work reminds us that socialization at work is important in terms of identity construction (Dubar 2005.

Fasolo. Armeli et al. recognition from colleagues and superiors has very strong motivational potential in the public sector (Khojasteh 1993. First. Shore and Tetrick 1991. 2001. Theoretical model Within a broad need-theory of work motivation. Hence recognition from superiors or colleagues represents a non-pecuniary reward for employees.receive by showing a stronger commitment to their employer (Eisenberger. are crucial factors impacting work motivation. the previous literature review leads us to draw the hypothesised model of the present study (see Figure 1). by extension. Khojasteh 1993). a positive indication of work-life balance 10 . Shore and Wayne 1993). Eisenberger. Secondly. Two additional points should however be mentioned here. results from comparative studies give an idea about how important it is for public employees to interact in a supportive environment (Buelens and Van den Broeck 2007). job security contributes a priori to its attractiveness (Vandenabeele 2008. 2001) in particular established a causal relationship between the two concepts via longitudinal data collection. This link has been established on several occasions (Hutchison 1997. fulfilling their need for affiliation and relatedness. according to the standard assumptions of conventional linear regression analysis in Structural Equation Modelling (Arbuckle 2008a. exogenous variables (i. Fasolo. 2004). and Davis-LaMastro 1990. These empirical results generally confirm that socio-relational elements. some other motivational factors are clearly features within the public sector.e. For instance. The Eisenberger. This psychological mechanism contributes to the consolidation of social exchange and is linked to the commitment variable and. Those components have thus to be included in a general theoretical framework of motivation. Guzzo. Rainey 1982).5. 2. and Elron 1994. Public employees value the possibility of having good interpersonal relationships with colleagues and co-workers more than their private counterparts (Posner and Schmidt 1996. In the same vein. So our third research hypothesis reads as follows: Good team relations and support have a positive impact on work motivation in the public sector (hypothesis 3). Hence. study (Eisenberger et al. such as inclusion in a team and good relationships within this working team. PSM. Eisenberger et al. even if some empirical results concerning the greater importance of job security for public employees are mixed (Houston 2000). 78). and Davis-LaMastro 1990). Here again. Noonan. affiliation with colleagues is important for public employees (Vandenabeele et al. Similarly. material incentives and team relations) are to be correlated. to turnover intentions. Lewis and Frank 2002).

Worrall. Consequently. Worrall and Cooper 2007. Cooper. level of education and organizational tenure). and CampbellJamison 2000). Lindorff 2009. these two variables that may impact positively on work motivation also have to be taken into consideration in an integrative model of work motivation. as well as the classic socio-demographic variables (sex. .Figure 1 about here- 11 .has been interpreted as a specific factor of motivation in the public sphere (Buelens and Van den Broeck 2007.

4%). In order to raise the participation the municipal authorities were promised a standardized benchmark report containing the survey’s key results. percentages of male and female.9% are in charge of the implementation of public policies. yielding a response rate of 38. They perform a variety of job tasks (7.5% Italian. The municipalities themselves were responsible for its distribution amongst their employees and also provided us with some basic statistics (number of employees. measures and methodology 3. Sample. .7% German.1. 12 . an adequate measure is the respondent’s survey language whereby 79% of the respondents used the German questionnaire and 21% the French version. Data collection and sample characteristics The primary data of this empirical study were collected in a national survey of civil servants at the Swiss municipal level.4% French.4% participate in the formulation or planning of public policies. and 41. This corresponds roughly to the mother tongue distribution of the resident population of Switzerland (according to the 2000 federal census: 63. 279 municipalities participated in the survey. As to the separation of the German and French speaking parts of Switzerland. Apart from the municipalities in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. In the end.1%. etc. which was either paper-based or administered online. from whom 3754 questionnaires were returned.) to assess the response rate and the representativeness of the sample accurately. At the end of this process.Table 1 about here- The sample includes municipal civil servants of various hierarchical levels but most of them are employees (51.3. supervisory and nonsupervisory employees.7% supply internal services). the survey was given to 9852 civil servants. 20. and 9% none of the national languages) (Lüdi and Werlen 2005). 50. virtually all the 2636 Swiss municipalities were contacted by mail and invited to take part in a national survey on the motivation of Swiss public servants. Table 1 displays the demographic description of the sample. 6.

“strongly disagree”.3 All variables. Simultaneous Confirmatory Factor Analysis (SCFA) was used as a second model testing measurement and offered support for the discriminating validity of the measures used.0 (Arbuckle 2008b). beginning with the dependent variable. with the exception of one item2. it is fundamental that I have a high wage" (answer on the agreement scale) computed with the related score to the question: "This criterion applies to my current work setting" (answer on a "Yes" or "No" scale). All measures consisted of items1 with response options on a five-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1. Model Generating: Having rejected the theoretically founded postulated model. except the dependent one. Alternative Models: Tests several alternative theoretically founded models which results in the selection of the best model according to its fitness. were tested with the Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) method with Amos 17. all questions were designed to capture whether the element is considered to be important for the respondent and whether the element exists in the respondent’s work setting. “strongly agree”. But the core of the concept consists in a sense of commitment to the job and a willingness to put 1 2 Presentation of the items for each construct in appendix. to 5. we preferred to rely only on CFA procedures4 to construct and test our measurement instruments. while Maximum Likelihood was used to estimate the parameters (see below). Measures of the variables This sub-section briefly presents the principal measures used in this study. On the other hand. in order to create a scale reflecting the valorization and the existence of a given element. Work motivation Many different operationalizations of work motivation compete in the relevant literature. The item measuring trust toward co-workers: "My colleagues totally deserve my trust" (answers on a five points Likert agreement scale) was adapted from Putnam's Social Capital Short-form Survey (Putnam 2002).2. All the scale items were found to have statistically significant factor loadings for their latent constructs. 3 Details on this procedure in appendix. As the Cronbach coefficient of reliability is often misleading (Sijtsma 2009).3. While the latent constructs of PSM and Work Motivation were measured with previously tested items. 4 This method can be used following three common scenarios: Strictly Confirmatory: Tests one single theoretically founded model which results in the acceptance or the rejection of the model. the two other constructs (TRSS and MIS) relied on self-developed items. 13 . For instance: "In my opinion. a new model is created using exploratory methods (Byrne 2001). FIML (Full Information Maximum Likelihood) was chosen for its capacity to deal with missing values.

998.000. In this study. Kim 2009. Following a CFA model generating procedure (Byrne 2001). All items were translated into German and French. 2008a) and are specifically relevant for this Swiss context. Coursey et al. Though a case can be made for understanding PSM as a second-order formative construct. 14 . We intended to keep the 14-item PSM scale applied in this study as close as possible to Perry’s instrument (1996). 2008. df=16.35-0.effort into work (Maugeri 2004).038). RMSEA=0. Even though "Attraction to policy making" had a factor loading below the general threshold of 0.976.552). For the first order all standardized factor loadings were above the usual threshold.84). our measure of PSM resulted in a four dimensional figure with two items per dimension. whereas the second item: "I'm always ready to start early in the morning and finish late at night to get the job done" determines the eagerness of motivated employees. Vandenabeele 2007a. we stuck to a reflective measurement as stated by Coursey et al.40. p-value of close fit=. The first item: "I am always totally committed to my work no matter how many difficulties there are" captures the commitment facet.492. The four dimensional PSM measure is very good in terms of its psychometric characteristics (Chi2=101. Public Service Motivation (PSM) The various conceptualisations of PSM have resulted in different operational definitions. Perry’s multidimensional measure is taken as the baseline (Perry 1996).58-0. The items were chosen based on previous research in the psychometric testing of the PSM scale (Coursey and Pandey 2007. Major modifications were made in the attraction to policy-making scale.989. We reduced the set of items to a 14-item scale including items for all four PSM dimensions. TLI= . The wording of some items was slightly adapted to suit the national context of this study while preserving the meaning of the items. NFI=. Two items measuring the generic concept of work motivation were adapted from Wright's study because of a previous test in a civil servant work setting (Wright 2004). Because fit indices and factor loadings cannot be estimated with only two items. (2008).93) and were acceptable for the second order (0. we decided to keep it in the final model to adhere to the most widely used four factor operationalization of PSM.987. The question whether public service motivation is second-order formative or reflective still remains open (Wright and Christensen 2009). Some adjustments were considered useful though. CFI=. (0. p-value=. the reliability of the scale can only be inferred from Cronbach's alpha coefficient of reliability (.

998.764.40 to 0. factor correlations and factor loadings may be underestimated and χ2 values inflated (Byrne 2001.77. CFI=. RMSEA=0. In the context of this study. Standardized factor loadings ranged from 0. df=2. given the Likert ordinal items. p-value=. it would be more appropriate to apply diagonally weighted least squares estimation (DWLS) or weighted 15 . p-value of close fit=.0 FIML (Arbuckle 2008b) estimation to test the causal or structural model. material incentives such as pay. as well as the importance of trust and good relationships between colleagues. extrinsic factors are characterized by their externality to the performed job and their capacity to fulfil low order needs.994.016). Team relations and support (intrinsic factors. df=2. West.001. and Curran 1995.040). From a behavioural point of view. Finch. p-value=. p-value of close fit=.995. TRSS) The quality of team relations and support from supervisors are intrinsic factors which have been under studied in the field of public management.979.974. as a consequence. Therefore. 88). Though the Maximum Likelihood estimator doesn’t fully take into account the ordinal nature of the used measures and.992.43 to 0. the Team Relations and Support Scale (TRSS) is of good quality (Chi2=3. NFI=.994. In this study there were five categories and multivariate normal distribution was checked. The analysis applied reflective CFA for the construction of the independent variable and SEM with Amos 17. After several CFA and revisions of the scale we used four selfdeveloped items relating to these components of extrinsic motivation. West.997.142. The standardized factor loadings ranged from 0. as long as normally distributed categorical variables are given" (Bentler and Chou 1987.3.66. CFI=. RMSEA=0. NFI=. and MacKinnon 1997) “continuous methods can be used with little worry when a variable has four or more categories. TLI= .Material incentives (MIS) As stated in the theoretical section. Our Material Incentive Scale (MIS) had good reliability in terms of its psychometric properties (Chi2=13. performance-related pay or career advancement are extrinsic factors of motivation. Statistical methods This study relied on the Structural Equation Modelling approach as it is particularly relevant when assessing a causal model with complex latent variables (Hayduk 1987). Even though.902. we developed four items in order to examine the consequence of recognition by colleagues and supervisors in terms of positive feedback. 3. Finch. TLI= .

Means for Work Motivation and TRSS are high given the fact that these variables are measured on a 5 point Likert scale. Therefore we modified our model and tested it again using the same data. χ2 is referred to here as descriptive information rather than a strong inferential test upon which a model is accepted or rejected. normed fit index (NFI) and the Tucker-Lewis fit index (TLI) are consulted as fit indices in line with their respective usual thresholds: TLI >. and Harlow 2003). public employees of Swiss municipalities appear highly motivated and they highly value relationships with colleagues as well as a confident and supportive work environment. Hence FIML provides estimators that have less bias and are less sensitive to sample variability (Enders 2001). FIML is a good method for avoiding a reduction of the sample caused by the covariance matrix creation and the exclusion of cases. Model fit is assessed by inferential χ2 and several descriptive goodness-of-fit indices. In structural equation modelling. 5 3 for Skewness and 10 for Kurtosis 16 . Since the χ2statistic is known to be inflated for samples with N>200 (Kelloway 1998). 4.230. a strict confirmatory approach often has to be abandoned because the model set up and tested initially is usually rejected due to loose fit or poor factor loading. Chen.1. either with likewise or pairwise deletion (Wothke and Arbuckle 1996).06 according to Hu and Bentler (1999). CFI > . Duncan.least squares mean and variance adjusted estimation (WLSMV).95.95. At first sight. Skewness and Kurtosis thresholds were not met according to Kline's cut-off criteria5 (Kline 2005). and is superior to data imputation methods (Olinsky. Duncan. root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA). Descriptive statistics Table 2 provides univariate and bivariate statistics of the variables used in this study. NFI> . That is why: "FIML appears to be the best method for handling missing data for most SEM applications" (Allison 2003 . In addition to χ2. FIML with ML estimation is also appropriate for ordinal variables (Jöreskog and Moustaki 2006). Multivariate normality was assessed by the distribution coefficient. comparative fit index (CFI).95. Empirical analysis and discussion 4. and Li 1998: quoted by). Bivariate correlations are all statistically significant and the measures appear to have discriminant validity as the highest correlation is . The process of re-specification must go hand in hand with theoretical considerations in order to ensure and preserve the coherence between substantive theory and the proposed structural equation model. RMSEA< .

A preliminary model was tested containing socio-demographic control variables (sex. the reliability of the dependent variables was tested separately following a CFA approach and modified according to fit indices and size of factor loadings.081). This intermediary model fitted the data well (Chi2=342.970. no rise in the R2 of Work Motivation) on the dependent variable. RMSEA=0. RMSEA=0. p-value of close fit=. TRSS). MIS <-->Motivation: (Chi2=2180. those variables had no influence (non-significant and strong regression path.867. TLI= . several models were specified and tested. 4. NFI=. CFI=.2.273)). MIS.049) 6 17 .230**.176.676. df=97.-Table 2 about here- Prior to the analysis of the full structural model a two step procedure was carried out for the construction of the measures of the independent variables. as shown in the previous measurement section.860. MIS. TRSS) and the dependent one (Motivation) provide preliminary evidence to support the general assumptions of the study (PSM <-->Motivation: r=.167). CFI=. NFI=. Those control variables were omitted from the final model for two reasons. This process led to the construction of three exogenous variables (PSM. Second. p-value=.000.000. First. All the independent variables were correlated in a single structural model to check cross-loading items and examine the strength of correlations between the variables in order to assess the discriminant validity. Descriptive statistics provide the first evidence supporting the relevance of this approach and the structural estimates offer further confirmation.979. MIS <--> TRSS (. the model had a very bad fit6. pvalue=. level of education and organizational tenure) as well as two other specific factors of work motivation in the public sector (job security and work-life balance).864. Second. df=220.026) and all independent variables were positively correlated and within an acceptable range (PSM <->MIS (. p-value of close fit=1.971. TLI= . a Simultaneous Confirmatory Factor Analysis was done.000. Hypotheses test As it is common practice in SEM.829. Pearson's bivariate correlations of the three independent variables (PSM. PSM <--> TRSS (. with three constructs rooted in three non-exclusive theoretical perspectives competing to explain the work motivation of municipal civil servants. The final model analysed was therefore fairly simple. First. The fit indices of the three dependent latent variables were all above the usual threshold for CFA analysis.

124**7).01. However. RMSEA=0. NFI=. with and without PSM.963. executed with SPSS linear regressions. In the context of this study. we demonstrated that PSM accounted for the largest share of the variance of work motivation (standardized regression coefficient = . p-value=.000.972. *p<.171. PSM has real added-value in explaining work motivation as it is the most important and significant predictor.981. p-value of close fit=1.05 Fit coefficient for the model without PSM: Chi2=116. MIS. led to similar results. df=125. According to them.872.r=. Figure 2 presents the standardized estimates for the final model under scrutiny. the strength of the coefficient is low but this result does confirm the fact that material incentives are poor factors of work motivation in the ** p<.000. . The respondents who reported having a strong level of PSM were significantly more likely to be highly motivated. p-value of close fit=1. TLI= . TRSS <-->Motivation: r=. a structural model was devised.42). Of course. RMSEA=0. CFI=. TLI= .035*. p-value=. Results from the structural model strongly supported this assumption as MIS was negatively related to motivation.962. The fact that PSM is a strong factor in work motivation in the public sector was also confirmed by a supplementary test: When we added PSM to the two other independent variables (TRSS and MIS).Figure 2 about here- Hypothesis 1 postulates that PSM has a positive impact on work motivation. This result strongly supports the inclusion of PSM as an important motivational factor in the public sector.000. Table 3 in the appendix shows its parametric characteristics. CFI=. In summary.028). df=32. to assess the strength of the regressions to the dependent variable clearly.4% to 22%8. NFI=. the percentage of explained variance of work motivation rose from 0.967.974. Hypothesis 2 asserts that material incentives have a negative impact on work motivation in the public sector.027 8 7 18 .000. A test of the same two models. TRSS) explained 22 % of the variance in work motivation (for a detailed presentation of the final model see figure 3 in the appendix). this model reached generally accepted thresholds and was well fitted (Chi2=480. This three factor model (PSM.

Hence a few comments have to be made on the coefficient of bilateral association between the explanatory variables. the municipal level of government is primarily characterized by a strong logic of service provision and by the closeness of elected politicians. The local authorities thus have a great deal of autonomy under the Federal Constitution but are under certain restrictions at the cantonal level. First. The findings of this empirical study clearly support the relevance of the inclusion of sociorelational elements as motivational factors. the biggest cities in Switzerland (e. 19 . one must be cautious in the interpretation of such an effect as the regression weight of is not significant (p-value= . The association between TRSS and MIS was the strongest (.274) but is still moderate. 4. They generate 70% of their income through their own taxes or fees (Steiner 2000). The distance between civil servants at both the cantonal and the federal level and the citizens is certainly greater. Hypothesis 3 makes the assumption that the perceived quality of team support. However.3 Limitations This study has two main limitations. we should be cautious and not interpret those results as a general judgment of the motivational patterns of all public employees in Switzerland (and beyond). The standardized coefficient of regression was significant and explained 15% of the variance of the dependent construct.211).081). Furthermore.public sector. in our sample. The latest result supports the general findings of the poor motivational potential of material incentives in the public sector and it gives insights into a potential crowding-out effect if public managers implement such incentive schemes when PSM is pre-eminent among their employees. Switzerland is a federal state characterized by the principle of subsidiarity between the local authorities. while the one linking PSM and MIS was the weakest (. public servants and the citizens. Their administrations are strongly diversified with large differences in their size (Horber-Papazian 2007). quality of relationship with teammates and trust in them. In any case. measured in terms of recognition from superiors and colleagues. has a positive impact on work motivation in the Swiss municipalities. All the independent variables were significantly related.g. namely how generalizable the empirical results stemming from the Swiss municipal context are and the use of self-developed measures. as the findings presented in this study concern Swiss public employees at the municipal level. the Cantons and the Federal level of government.

The main findings of this empirical study confirm that PSM is a strong predictor of work motivation in the public sector (Vandenabeele et al. 5. This latest point hints at a social identity theory of work motivation. These three variables were then integrated in a structural model in order to test their respective influence. we identified two other potential sources of public employees’ motivation: material incentives as extrinsic factors. 2004. which also leads to a supplementary caution when extrapolating the results obtained to the behaviour of Swiss public servants in general. as well as possible. sociorelational factors such as recognition from colleagues and superiors trust in and relationships with colleagues are good predictors of work motivation. Cerase and Farinella 2006). If the use of self-developed items calls into question the reliability of the result and its possible implications or in comparison with previous findings. Conclusion The purpose of this article was to assess empirically the relative impact of PSM as a specific work motivation factor on the broad work motivation construct. Foote 1951). This study also confirms that material incentives are poor predictors of work motivation in the public sector (Wittmer 1991. both the desiderata and the existence of motivational elements. Pilichowski 2009). its prominence is real. and co-workers is one of them (Van Dick et al. Drawing upon a literature review of the need-theory aspects of motivation. This need to interact in a supportive work environment might not be a specific feature of public work but it has its roots in the deepest human need for social relationships and recognition. Furthermore. can have multiple targets. in the context of the workplace. 20 . Taylor 2007. This result suggests that even if the PSM construct is only one feature among the specific motivators of the public sector. Geneva. and team relations and support as intrinsic factors. PSM has an explanatory added-value in comparison with competing factors. 2004b) and is known to be both a factor in motivation and organizational performance (Van Knippenberg 2000. at least in the Swiss municipal context of this study. Basel and Bern) were under-represented. Identification. The second cautionary note concerns what was developed to measure the variables. we nevertheless maintain that those items were designed to capture.Zurich. Furthermore. alongside PSM.

Further comparative research with administrative services which have implemented such devices and. few studies have been undertaken so far to measure the effects of organizational features such as corporate culture or even HRM practices on PSM (Moynihan and Pandey 2007). traditional administrative services might provide further fuel for this debate. and Kubo 2001). One may also consider supplementing this quantitative cross-sectional study with in depth qualitative interviews with public agents from our sample on situations affecting their motivation. Therefore. A replication of this study with better and attested measures of satisfaction with co-workers and superiors as well as material incentives would probably bring further insights and strongly support the necessity for an integrative framework when analysing the motivational patterns of public servants. like other studies analysing the effects of PSM at its dimensional level. it would be an interesting issue to assess different kinds of HRM practices in order to better identify their respective influence on work motivation in the public sector. NPM-like reforms could miss their expected goals. At least two interrelated human resource management devices inspired by NPM .performance-related pay and individual assessment .from this perspective could be counterproductive (Forest 2008) and have a detrimental effect on motivation in the public sector (Marsden. This kind of research would also be of great interest for HRM practitioners. They clearly demonstrate that if work motivation in the public sector depends on intrinsic factors such as PSM or the will to interact in a supportive and cooperative environment. as control cases.This study opens new research avenues. On the other hand. it would be of great interest to perform the same analysis of other HRM practices in order to assess their impact on work motivation in the public sphere. 21 . Taylor 2007). Our results also raise normative questions regarding the New Public Management reform trend. it is conceivable to think of different effects for each of its four constitutive dimensions (Vandenabeele 2009. French. In particular. Furthermore.

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5 = strong agreement) Variable name Item name Items wording Items Wording (English) (French) Positive feed-back from Les retours positifs de la part Team relations Superior and support Recognition* my hierarchical de mon supérieur hiérarchique superior are very direct sont pour moi très important for me importants Colleagues Positive feed-back from Les retours positifs de la part Recognition* my colleagues are very de mes collègues sont pour important for me moi très importants Relationships w/ It is important for me to Il est important que j'aie de Colleagues* have good working bonnes relations de travail relationship with my avec mes collègues colleagues Colleagues Trust My colleagues deserve Mes collègues de travail sont totally my trust tout à fait dignes de ma confiance Material High Wage* It is important for me to Il est important que j'aie un incentives have a high wage revenu élevé Pay per It is important for me to Il est important que j'aie un Performance* have an high pay per salaire à la performance élevé performance (prime. 3. 3 Appendix Description of the variables and items All these items were measured using a 5-point Likert-type scale (1 = strong disagreement. 2. progression salariale) Career* It is important for me to Il est important que j'aie de have good career bonnes perspectives de perspectives carrière Bonus It is crucial for me that Selon moi.Appendix Figures 1. Tables 1. il est fondamental Exceptional there are bonuses to qu'il y ait des primes pour Perf* reward exceptional récompenser des prestations work exceptionnelles. 2. Motiv 1 I'm always ready to Je suis toujours prêt à Work begin early in the Motivation commencer le travail tôt le morning and to stop matin et à arrêter tard le soir late at night to do the pour que le travail soit fait job Motiv 2 I am always totally Je suis toujours totalement committed to my work engagé dans mon travail no matter how many quelque soit le degré de difficulties there are difficultés PSM Pol 1 I'm very interested in Je m'intéresse beaucoup à la Policy Making politics politique Pol 2 I like to discuss J'aime débattre de sujets political subjects with politiques avec d'autres others 32 .

Ex. a strongly desirable element which is present has the highest score (5). Recoding with SPSS following a conditional table: Totally Don’t agree at all (1) (2) (3) (4) agree (5) Poorly valued Strongly valued Yes/ Existing (1) 1 2 3 4 5 No/ Not existing (0) 5 4 3 2 1 33 . Items used in the current study results from a three steps procedure: 1. 1 Self-Sacr. and in the same time exists in the work setting of the respondent.PSM Civic Commitment Civ Int 1 I consider public service my civic duty Je considère mon engagement pour le service public comme un devoir Civ Int 2 PSM Compassion Comp 1 Comp 2 PSM Self-Sacrifice Self-Sacr. (Answers on a five point Likert scale of agreement) 2. It is important for me to have good working relationship with my colleagues. and a strongly desirable element which is not materialized has the lowest score (1). Respondents were asked whether it is a valued aspect of their job. (Answers on two categories: Yes or No) 3. Respondents were asked whether this particular aspect apply to their work situation. In this way. But the contrary is also true. 2 Il est important que je m’engage sans compter pour le bien commun La vie quotidienne me rappelle souvent que nous sommes dépendants les uns des autres La plupart des programmes sociaux me semblent trop vitaux pour pouvoir s'en passer I think people should Il est important que les gens give back to society rendent à la société bien plus more than they get from que ce qu'ils en retirent it I am one of those rare Je fais partie des personnes people who would risk prêtes à risquer une perte personal loss to help personnelle afin d'aider someone else quelqu'un d'autre It is for me important to contribute for the common good I'm often reminded by daily events ho dependent we are on one another Most social programs are too vital to do without *This category of items was constructed in order to test whether a certain aspect or job is valued.

42 Public Service Motivation (PSM) . level of education.15 . .Work-life balance .27 Motivation at work -.22 .Sex.03 Material incentives (MIS) .16 Team relations and support (TRSS) .Figure 1: Theoretical model Control variables .08 34 .Job security .Organizational tenure Team relations and support (TRSS) H3 Motivation at work H2 Material incentives (MIS) H1 Public Service Motivation (PSM) Figure 2: Structural model (Standardized estimates) .

33 e61 Res1 .58 e22 Pay per Performance .87 Civ Int 2 e52 e14 Superior Recognition .71 . 1 .Figure 3: Full Structural Model Res4 .65 .65 .22 .60 .27 .42 .92 .61 Civ Int 1 .12 .45 e71 Motiv1 -.54 e51 e13 Colleagues Trust .76 Material incentives e23 Career .75 .56 Res6 .58 .37 e12 Relationships w/ Colleagues .74 .47 .54 .36 Self-Sacr.49 .92 .31 .43 e24 Bonus for exceptional job 35 .38 .84 Pol 1 e41 PSM Policy Making .16 .42 Team relation and support PSM .15 .18 .36 .29 . 2 e72 e31 e32 .60 .42 .34 .70 PSM Compassion Comp 2 e62 Job Motivation Res7 .57 .61 .50 .03 .34 Motiv2 PSM Self-Sacrifice .67 Self-Sacr.19 .22 .84 Pol 2 Res5 PSM Civic Interest e42 e11 Colleagues Recognition .08 e21 High Wage .43 Comp 1 .

3% 17.Table 1.114 .159 1.6% 11-15 9.9% 21.3% Other 1.744 -.163 -.124** .035* .7% 25.351 .041* (.614 -.2% Auxiliary 0.038 .8% 21-25 6. 36 .8% 42.927 -.6% 4.9% 16-20 11.756 -1.6% >36 1% Mean: 10.4% Manager 27.513 . bivariate correlations Mean S.9% 6-10 23.3% 26-30 4.763 3.1% Time with organization * <1 12.34 54.7% 12.2% 2-5 27. distribution coefficients.8% Employee 51.210** (.6% 3.373 (.05 Skewness Kurtosis 1 .104** .700) 3.5% 4.230** (.094 .266 -.004 .26 * classified in years Table 2: Descriptive statistics.2% Senior manager 15.696) 4.2% 31-35 2. trainee 4. Pearson correlations. Demographic description of the sample N=3754 Gender Male Female Educational level Secondary school Professional apprenticeship High school diploma Upper professional apprenticeship University degree Other Age* 15-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 Mean: Linguistic region Swiss-German 79% Swiss-French 21% Hierarchical position Apprentice.01 *p<.2% 44.7% 7.4% 45.7% 22.570) Statistics based on summative indices.7% 5.663 .552) 2 3 4 4.3% 29.d 1 Motivation N valid=3690 N missing= 64 2 PSM N valid=3542 N missing=212 Material 3 incentives (MIS) N valid=3092 N missing=662 Team relations 4 and support (TRSS) N valid=3337 N missing=417 ** p<.

141 *** 1 Set to 1 for identification purpose Bilateral associations Variables Correlations Covariances p-value (.711 *** Superior Recognition .081 .312 .418 Variance Standardized factor loadings R2 .118 .165 .708 .899 *** MIS High wage (1) Pay per performance 1.600 .911 *** PSM PSM_Policy-making (1) Pol 1 (1) Pol 2 .343 .868 .156 *** .001) (unstandardized) Motivation Motiv1 (1)9 Motiv2 .652 .754 .420 .Table 3: Structural estimates for the full model Structural estimates Regression p-value Weights (.400 (***) .919 .605 .736 .926 *** Comp 1 (1) Comp 2 .030 *** Colleagues Trust .114 *** Regression path on dependent variable Regression p-value Standardized weights (.001) factor loadings Motivation TRSS .472 .614 .597 .109 *** Self-Sacr.154 MIS -.582 .001) TRSS <-->PSM .040 *** MIS <--> PSM .002 MIS <--> TRSS .543 .655 .032 .438 (***) .573 .228 PSM_Compassion .674 .486 *** Career 1.274 .216 .1 (1) Self-Sacr.410 *** Civ Int 1 (1) Civ Int 2 1.033 PSM .2 1.745 *** TRSS Colleagues recognition (1) Relationship w/ colleagues 1.691 *** .245 *** Bonus for exceptional job .021 .950 *** PSM_Self-Sacrifice 1.433 .211 -.492 37 .150 (***) .759 .918 .701 .558 .989 *** PSM_Civic Interest 1.

38 .