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Integrating Public Service Motivation and Environmentalism: Empirically testing the relationship between values and vocation

Howard, Rufus, A. (2020) Integrating Public Service Motivation and Environmentalism: Empirically testing the relationship between values and vocation. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:83106)

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Abstract

Why should we care about Public Service Motivation (PSM)? One of the key reasons is to understand "the nature of 'human nature' with respect to rational versus other-regarding motives" (p.7 Perry and Hondeghem, 2008). One pressing societal aspect of human nature with respect to rational vs other-regarding motives is our declining relationship with 'nature' and our natural environment. The challenge of climate change, biodiversity loss and sustainable development have never been more urgent, and the role of the public sector and public administration, never more critical. The purpose of this Thesis is to integrate Environmentalism into the PSM scholarship. The integration of Environmentalism with PSM is theoretically underpinned through the use of Schwartz's (1992) theory of values which identifies the values of the public good, environmental protection and sustainability as part of the self-transcendent value of Universalism. Novel data is presented using a modified PSM scale to sample environment, sustainability and planning professionals (N 280) to provide insights to managers and researchers and reveal a new environmental facet of the PSM concept. The structure of the Thesis begins with a broad literature review into PSM, motivational psychology and environmentalism before moving into a series of three empirical chapters written as standalone articles exploring different facets of the research. Each chapter and consecutive study build upon the preceding work and contribute evidence towards the overall research question. The resulting conclusion combines theoretical support from multiple fields in public administration, psychology, values research, and environmental philosophy with empirical studies based on multiple data sets using a combination of methods. In each case the conclusions from individual chapters have contributed evidence in support of the overall conclusion that environmentalism should be considered a missing 5th universal dimension of PSM. The practical implications of the Thesis build on the work of Christensen, Paarlberg and Perry (2017) to argue adopting environment and sustainability values into management practices will enhance employee PSM. Furthermore, as attracting and retaining individuals with high PSM enhances performance and organisational mission accomplishment, then HR selection criteria should consider the environmental values of candidates as an additional indicator of high PSM, and an organisation adopting environmental values will enhance retention of high PSM individuals and thereby enhance performance and mission accomplishment. It is further argued that the recommendation to leverage relationships between PSM employees and their service beneficiaries can be achieved by a more explicit linking of public sector organisations positive contribution to a wider environmental and sustainability challenges. It is therefore argued that by connecting employees to tangible environmental and sustainability improvements resulting from their work, it is possible to increase the motivation of the PSM employees and thereby increase performance, retention and commitment (Christensen, Paarlberg and Perry 2017). The final recommendation regards leadership and the communication and modelling of behaviours. Accepting the principle hypothesis concerning the integration of environmentalism with PSM, the practical implications that follow are that greater knowledge, understanding and commitment of public leaders to environmental values will help to catalyse organisations to rise to the challenges of sustainability. The Thesis ends with the identification of four directions for future research consisting of; new scale item development and testing of amended PSM scale incorporating Environmentalism; further testing of levels of PSM in environmentalists; exploring value conflicts represented by the lack of environmentalism in New Public Management (NPM); and investigating the 'Environmentalist' as a 5th Self-Conception of PSM.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Georgellis, Yannis
Thesis advisor: Chau, Vinh Sum
Uncontrolled keywords: 'Public Service Motivation' environmentalism environmentalist values 'public values' vocation 'public service' motivation psychology
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Kent Business School (do not use)
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2020 10:10 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:15 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/83106 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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