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Leading to make a difference for whom? How vision content moderates the relationship between transformational leadership and public service motivation

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Existing studies indicate that transformational leadership can increase employees’ public service motivation (PSM), because a shared vision inspires followers to transcend their self-interest. But is this true for all types of visions? Must the organizational vision be society-oriented? A survey of 218 public employees from 13 Danish organizational units (police and counseling) addresses these questions. Police and counseling units are people-processing organizations with different service logics, and the content of the visions differs, both between police and counseling and within the two functional areas. This enables us to investigate whether vision content moderates the association between transformational leadership and PSM. The results indicate that a society-oriented vision is a precondition for a positive association, suggesting that it is important for public managers (and future studies) to consider the specific vision content.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Public Management Journal
Pages (from-to)585-599
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

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