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The agreeable bureaucrat: personality and PSM

Madinah F. Hamidullah (School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University-Newark, Newark, New Jersey, USA)
Gregg G. Van Ryzin (School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University-Newark, Newark, New Jersey, USA)
Huafang Li (School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University-Newark, Newark, New Jersey, USA)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 8 August 2016

683

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the extent to which public service motivation (PSM) can be explained by the big five personality factors.

Design/methodology/approach

Original data are gathered from two online surveys of public service professionals from across the USA. The two surveys employ the same measures of personality traits but different measures of PSM. This was done to test the generalizability of the findings across different operationalization of PSM.

Findings

The big five personality factors explain a large share of the variance in PSM, above and beyond basic demographic factors (sex, age and race). Agreeableness has the most consistent association with PSM. Extroversion, conscientiousness, and openness to experience also display positive associations with at least some measures and dimensions of PSM.

Research limitations/implications

The two surveys involved somewhat small, non-probability samples of public service professionals. Additional research is needed to confirm the generalizability of these findings.

Originality/value

This study contributes to both the theoretical and empirical understanding of the origins of PSM.

Keywords

Citation

Hamidullah, M.F., Van Ryzin, G.G. and Li, H. (2016), "The agreeable bureaucrat: personality and PSM", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 29 No. 6, pp. 582-595. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPSM-12-2015-0218

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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