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Construct validity of public service motivation in India: a comparison of two measures

Rajneesh Gupta (National Academy of Indian Railways, Vadodara, India)
Sanket Dash (OB and HRM, Indian Institute of Management Rohtak, Rohtak, India)
Shiva Kakkar (OB and HRM, Indian Institute of Management Nagpur, Nagpur, India)
Ramashankar Yadav (OB and HRM, Indian Institute of Management Rohtak, Rohtak, India)

Evidence-based HRM

ISSN: 2049-3983

Article publication date: 15 September 2020

Issue publication date: 10 February 2021




Public service motivation (PSM) is a universal construct, but indigenous traditions and culture of a country are known to influence its measurement. Currently, no research on PSM in India is available. To facilitate PSM research in India, this article compares the two most used measures of PSM (PSM-14 and PSM-16) to identify the most suitable scale for further exploration.


The study uses a cross-sectional survey research design. Data were collected from 387 employees working in the public sector. ADANCO, a PLS-SEM package, was used to analyze the data.


Contrary to expectations, it was found that the older PSM-14 exhibited better psychometric properties than the newer PSM-16. The PSM-14 also exhibited greater predictive validity than PSM-16.

Practical implications

The study demonstrates that PSM is a valid construct in India and can be measured adequately by existing instruments. However, certain sub-dimensions of the scale (such as compassion) may be reworded/changed to reflect Indian cultural ethos better.


The findings will be tremendously helpful to researchers interested in examining the correlates of PSM in the Indian context by making it easier to select the appropriate measurement instrument. The study also provides a careful examination of each of the sub-dimensions of the construct to enable the development of more robust PSM measures in the future.



The authors are thankful to Prof. Sangmook Kim (Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Seoul, Korea) for his valuable feedback that helped in the development of this paper.


Gupta, R., Dash, S., Kakkar, S. and Yadav, R. (2021), "Construct validity of public service motivation in India: a comparison of two measures", Evidence-based HRM, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 47-62.



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