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Public service motivation and job satisfaction in China: An investigation of generalisability and instrumentality

Bangcheng Liu (Department of Public Administration, School of International and Public Affairs, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Ningyu Tang (School of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Xiaomei Zhu (School of Economics and Management, East China Jiao Tong University, Jiangxi, China)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 14 November 2008

7677

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to investigate how generalisable the public service motivation (PSM) observed in Western society is to China and to examine the effects of public service motivation on job satisfaction.

Design/methodology/approach

Exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis techniques are applied to survey data of 191 public servants in China to investigate the generalisability of Western PSM. Using hierarchical regression analysis, the paper examines the effects of the dimensions of PSM on job satisfaction.

Findings

The results show that the public service motivation observed in the West exists in China, but the generalisability of the construct is limited. Three of the four dimensions of public service motivation (attraction to public policy making, commitment to the public interest, and self‐sacrifice) exist in China, but the fourth dimension (compassion) is unconfirmed.

Originality/value

The paper is the first to examine the generalisability and instrumentality of PSM as observed in Western society to China. The results indicate that the public service motivation observed in the West also exists in China, but that the generalisability is limited. Public service motivation emerges from the results as a positively significant predictor of job satisfaction in the public sector of China. It enhances the applicability and meaningfulness of the concept of public service motivation across political and cultural environments.

Keywords

Citation

Liu, B., Tang, N. and Zhu, X. (2008), "Public service motivation and job satisfaction in China: An investigation of generalisability and instrumentality", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 29 No. 8, pp. 684-699. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437720810919297

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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