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Investigating the structure and meaning of public service motivation across populations: Developing an international instrument and addressing issues of measurement invariance

Abstract

The growth in international research on public service motivation (PSM) raises a number of important questions about the degree to which the theory and research developed in one country can contribute to our understanding of PSM in other counties. To help address this issue, this study revisits the conceptual and operational definitions of PSM to address weaknesses previously noted in the literature. Although some important steps have been taken to both improve and internationalize the PSM scale, this work has been done incrementally. In contrast, this study takes a more systematic and comprehensive approach by combining the efforts of international PSM scholars to develop and then test a revised measurement instrument for PSM in 12 countries. Although the resulting four dimensional 16-item measure of PSM reported here provides a better theoretical and empirical foundation for the measurement of PSM, our results suggest that the exact meaning and scaling of PSM dimensions are likely to differ across cultures and languages. These results raise serious concerns regarding the ability to develop a single universal scale of PSM, or making direct comparisons of PSM across countries. © 2012 The Author

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Archivio della ricerca - Università degli studi di Napoli Federico II

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Last time updated on 12/11/2016

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