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A Cross-Cultural Basis for Public Service? Public Service Motivation Measurement Invariance in an Original Survey of 23,000 Public Servants in Ten Countries and Four World Regions

Mikkelsen, K; Schuster, C; Meyer-Sahling, J; (2021) A Cross-Cultural Basis for Public Service? Public Service Motivation Measurement Invariance in an Original Survey of 23,000 Public Servants in Ten Countries and Four World Regions. International Public Management Journal 10.1080/10967494.2020.1809580. (In press).

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Abstract

Public service motivation (PSM) is a core concept in public administration, studied in surveys across numerous countries. Whether these studies accumulate comparable knowledge about PSM crucially depends on PSM measurement invariance: that PSM has a similar measurement structure in different national contexts. Yet, large-scale cross-country research to address this conundrum remains scant. Drawing on an original survey of 23,000 public servants in ten countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa, our paper addresses this gap. Replicating Kim et al.’s 16-item scale, we find partial metric invariance for the four PSM dimensions in eight countries, but scalar non-invariance. This suggests that results from structural equations about the causes and consequences of PSM may be compared across most countries, yet means of PSM and its dimensions are not generally comparable. PSM research thus cannot adjudicate in which countries public service motivation is higher or lower on average but can compare relationships between PSM and individual characteristics or management practices between countries. Our findings underscore the cross-cultural basis of public service motivation and its limits.

Type: Article
Title: A Cross-Cultural Basis for Public Service? Public Service Motivation Measurement Invariance in an Original Survey of 23,000 Public Servants in Ten Countries and Four World Regions
DOI: 10.1080/10967494.2020.1809580
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/10967494.2020.1809580
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10107593
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