Department of Political Science

Public Values and Public Service Motivation: Conceptual and Empirical Relationships

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  • Lotte Bøgh Andersen
  • Torben Beck Jørgensen, Institut for Statskundskab, Denmark
  • Anne Mette Kjeldsen
  • Lene Holm Pedersen, AKF - Anvendt KommunalForskning, Denmark
  • Karsten Vrangbæk, AKF - Anvendt KommunalForskning, Denmark
The literatures on public values (PV) and public service motivation (PSM) both address whether public service delivery is driven by something more than self-interest. They have developed separately, although they can benefit from insights developed by the other, and this article discusses conceptual and empirical relationships between them. Based on a survey of 501 public managers, we find that PSM and PV are associated empirically, but not in a manner allowing total integration. The conceptual discussion reveals how the two concepts cannot be totally separated, as values can be motivating and motivation is often oriented toward something desirable (e.g., values). This suggests that neither total separation nor integration is a fruitful strategy. Given that the concepts are related, the literatures may benefit from more awareness of the conceptual overlaps and differences.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Pages (from-to)292-311
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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