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Does Person-Organization Fit Matter in the Public -Sector? Testing the Mediating Effect of Person-Organization Fit in the Relationship between Public Service Motivation and Work Attitudes


  • Sangmook Kim is professor of public administration at Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Korea. His research interests are public service motivation, organizational behavior, human resources management, public management reform, and gender-related issues. His research has been published in numerous journals, including the American Review of Public Administration, International Journal of Manpower, International Review of Administrative Sciences, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, and Public Administration Review. E-mail:


Public service motivation theory suggests that public service motivation is positively related to work attitudes, but person-organization fit theory assumes that person-organization fit completely mediates the relationship between public service motivation and work attitudes of public employees. This article investigates which theory better predicts attitudes toward work, such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment of public employees, by testing hypotheses on (1) whether public service motivation directly influences work attitudes, or (2) whether person-organization fit mediates the relationship between public service motivation and work attitudes, or (3) whether both hypotheses are true. Using survey data on civil servants in Korea, this article shows that public service motivation has not only a direct effect on but also an indirect effect on job satisfaction and -organizational commitment through its influence on person--organization fit.