Gender Dimensions of Public Service Motivation

Authors


Leisha DeHart-Davis is an assistant professor of public administration at the University of Kansas. Her research interests include the gender dimensions of public administration and the effects of organizational structure and reforms on public employees.
E-mail:lddavis@ku.edu.

Justin Marlowe is an assistant professor of public administration at the University of Kansas. His research interests include public budgeting and financial management, municipal management, and research methods.
E-mail:jmarlowe@ku.edu.

Sanjay K. Pandey is an assistant professor of public administration at the University of Kansas. He conducts research on public management and health policy. Recently, he directed Phase II of the National Administrative Studies Project.
E-mail:skpandey@ku.edu.

Abstract

Feminist scholars of public administration have critiqued the dominance of masculine imagery in public administration theory and practice. However, public service motivation is one area of public administration discourse that contains both feminine and masculine imagery. Focusing on Perry’s multidimensional public service motivation scale, the authors borrow from a range of social science literatures to contend that compassion is a feminine dimension of public service motivation, whereas attraction to policy making and commitment to public service are masculine dimensions. Data from a survey of public managers in state health and human service agencies reveal that women score higher on Perry’s compassion subscale but also on attraction to policy making. No statistically significant gender differences were found on commitment to public service.

Ancillary