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Merit recruitment, tenure protections and public service motivation: Evidence from a conjoint experiment with 7,300 public servants in Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe

Meyer-Sahling, J; Mikkelsen, KS; Schuster, C; (2021) Merit recruitment, tenure protections and public service motivation: Evidence from a conjoint experiment with 7,300 public servants in Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe. Public Administration , 99 (4) pp. 740-757. 10.1111/padm.12708. Green open access

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Abstract

How can governments manage civil servants to enhance public service motivation (PSM)? Despite the centrality of PSM in public administration research, the effects of management practices on PSM remain understudied. We address this gap through a conjoint experiment with 7,300 public servants in five countries in Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Our experiment assesses two practices: merit‐based competitions for recruitment versus discretionary appointments; and permanent tenure versus temporary job contracts. We find that merit competitions are associated with greater PSM by respondents in four countries, yet have no significant effect in a fifth. Permanent contracts are associated with greater PSM (two countries), lower PSM (one country) and have no significant effect (two countries). The effects of personnel management practices thus appear to vary across contexts. A common practice in public administration research—generalizations about the effects of management practices from single‐country studies or cross‐country averages—requires rethinking.

Type: Article
Title: Merit recruitment, tenure protections and public service motivation: Evidence from a conjoint experiment with 7,300 public servants in Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/padm.12708
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/padm.12708
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 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/10114380
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