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Risk management in public service delivery: Multi-dimensional scale development and validation

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Risk is omnipresent in public service delivery, which can be difficult to accept politically. Risk management is leadership behavior targeted toward enabling frontline workers to mitigate negative consequences to service recipients in risky situations. The aim of this article is to develop a theoretical framework of risk management in public service delivery and an associated, standardized, individual-level scale for use in studying leadership behavior. The article develops and tests a second-order model of risk management, employing insights from qualitative interviews with 16 public service managers and data from a survey of 187 public service managers and 698 of their employees. The factor structure was tested and validated using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. The results show that the scale correlates with public service motivation, turnover intention, and visionary leadership, which provides evidence of criterion and convergent validity. The scale has no relationship to number of work hours or age, which is supportive of discriminant validity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Public Management Journal
Pages (from-to)1005-1026
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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