The Benefits of PSM: An Oasis or a Mirage?

Sahar Awan, Germà Bel, Marc Esteve

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Scholarly interest in public service motivation (PSM) has yielded a vast amount of research, exploring its potential for benefitting public-sector organizations through increased employee job satisfaction, enhanced individual performance, employee retention, and enhanced organizational commitment and citizenship behavior. However, a closer inspection of the literature reveals mixed empirical evidence for each impact of PSM. The present study carries out a meta-analysis of five key impacts of PSM to explain the divergence of results in the existing literature. We find evidence of the existence of a true effect for PSM over all the dependent variables, except for turnover intentions. In addition, we find a possible explanation for the mixed empirical evidence found in previous studies. We demonstrate that individual and organizational benefits of PSM are not accrued equally in all public sector workplaces and that the contextual variables legal origin and endemic countrywide corruption influence the extent to which PSM can produce positive outcomes in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-635
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


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