Public Service Motivation Concepts and Theory: A Critique



With its growth in popularity, public service motivation (PSM) research has been subjected to increasing critical scrutiny, but with more focus on measurement and models than on concepts. The authors examine PSM against standard criteria for judging the strength of concepts (e.g., resonance, parsimony, differentiation, and depth). After providing a critique of PSM concepts, they conclude with suggestions for research programs that could improve the explanatory power of PSM theory.