Public-Service Motivation: A Multivariate Test

Houston, David J.
October 2000
Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory;Oct2000, Vol. 10 Issue 4, p713
Academic Journal
ABSTRACTIs there public-service motivation ? In comparison to private employees, are public employees more likely to value extrinsic rewards over intrinsic rewards? Utilizing data from the General Social Survey, public- and private-sector workers are compared with regard to the incentives that they value most highly in a job. This study contributes to the research literature on the difference between public and private employees by providing a multivariate analysis of survey data collected using a national sampling frame. Logistic regression results indicate that public employees are more likely to place a higher value on the intrinsic reward of work that is important and provides a feeling of accomplishment. Additionally, private-sector workers are more likely to place a higher value on such extrinsic reward motivators as high income and short work hours. These findings suggest that public-service motivation does exist. Individuals employed in public organizations value different motives than those employed in private organizations.


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