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RESIGNED BUT SATISFIED: THE NEGATIVE IMPACT OF PUBLIC SERVICE MOTIVATION AND RED TAPE ON WORK SATISFACTION

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Abstract

This article examines the relationship between red tape, Public Service Motivation (PSM) and a particular work outcome labelled ‘resigned satisfaction’. Using data from a national survey of over 3754 public servants working at the municipal level in Switzerland, this study shows the importance of looking more closely at the concept of work satisfaction and, furthermore, of thoroughly investigating the impact of the different PSM dimensions on work outcomes. Unsurprisingly, research findings show that red tape is the most important predictor of resignation. Nevertheless, when PSM dimensions are analysed separately, results demonstrate that ‘commitment to public interest/civic duty’ and, to a lesser extent, ‘attraction to policy-making’ decrease resignation, whereas ‘compassion’ and ‘self-sacrifice’ increase it. This study thus highlights some of the negative (or undesirable) effects of PSM that have not been previously addressed in PSM literature.

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