Public Service Motivation (PSM) and Support for Citizen Participation: A Test of Perry and Vandenabeele’s Reformulation of PSM Theory

This article examines how public service motivation (PSM) relates to public managers’ attitudes toward citizen participation. Perry and Vandenabeele suggest that PSM effects are moderated and/or mediated by self-regulation and by the salience of an activity to self-identity. Using data from Phase IV of the National Administrative Studies Project, latent model results suggest a direct, positive relationship between PSM and citizen participation evaluation. The relationship is not mediated by value congruence but rather is moderated by the perceived importance of the organization’s citizen participation efforts. The moderating effect has three interpretations: (1) PSM has a stronger relationship to evaluation as citizen participation becomes more important in the agency; (2) at low and medium PSM levels, the greater the importance of citizen participation, the lower its evaluation; or (3) at high PSM levels, the greater the importance of citizen participation, the higher its evaluation. This suggests that PSM is more germane for activities such as citizen participation, invoking relevant values as perceived organizational commitment increases.

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