Revisiting the Motivational Bases of Public Service: Twenty Years of Research and an Agenda for the Future

Authors

  • James L. Perry,

    Corresponding author
    1. Indiana University Bloomington and Yonsei University
      James L. Perry is Distinguished Professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University Bloomington and in the Department of Public Administration, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea. He is coeditor of Motivation in Public Management: The Call of Public Service (Oxford University Press, 2008) and editor of the Jossey-Bass Reader on Nonprofit and Public Leadership (2010). His current research interests include public service motivation, collaboration, and shared leadership.
      E-mail:perry@indiana.edu and perry@yonsei.ac.kr
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  • Annie Hondeghem,

    Corresponding author
    1. Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
      Annie Hondeghem is a professor in the Public Management Institute, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. She is coeditor of Motivation in Public Management: The Call of Public Service (Oxford University Press, 2008). She teaches public administration and public management. Her research deals with public personnel management, change management, ethics and equal opportunity policies.
      E-mail:annie.hondeghem@soc.kuleuven.be
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  • Lois Recascino Wise

    Corresponding author
    1. Indiana University Bloomington
      Lois Recascino Wise is a professor of governance and management in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, director of West European studies, and director of the European Union Center at Indiana University Bloomington. She teaches courses on public management and organizational diversity. Her current research interests include comparative administrative reform, workforce globalization and professional mobility, and bureaucratic postures.
      E-mail:wisel@indiana.edu
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James L. Perry is Distinguished Professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University Bloomington and in the Department of Public Administration, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea. He is coeditor of Motivation in Public Management: The Call of Public Service (Oxford University Press, 2008) and editor of the Jossey-Bass Reader on Nonprofit and Public Leadership (2010). His current research interests include public service motivation, collaboration, and shared leadership.
E-mail:perry@indiana.edu and perry@yonsei.ac.kr

Annie Hondeghem is a professor in the Public Management Institute, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. She is coeditor of Motivation in Public Management: The Call of Public Service (Oxford University Press, 2008). She teaches public administration and public management. Her research deals with public personnel management, change management, ethics and equal opportunity policies.
E-mail:annie.hondeghem@soc.kuleuven.be

Lois Recascino Wise is a professor of governance and management in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, director of West European studies, and director of the European Union Center at Indiana University Bloomington. She teaches courses on public management and organizational diversity. Her current research interests include comparative administrative reform, workforce globalization and professional mobility, and bureaucratic postures.
E-mail:wisel@indiana.edu

Abstract

How has research regarding public service motivation evolved since James L. Perry and Lois Recascino Wise published their essay “The Motivational Bases of Public Service” 20 years ago? The authors assess subsequent studies in public administration and in social and behavioral sciences as well as evolving definitions of public service motivation. What have we learned about public service motivation during the last two decades? What gaps in our understanding and knowledge have appeared with respect to the three propositions offered by Perry and Wise? This essay charts new directions for public service motivation scholarship to help clarify current research questions, advance comparative research, and enhance our overall understanding of individuals’ public service motives.

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