The notion that people are motivated to work in the public service as a result of altruism, a desire to serve, or a wish to have an impact on society is a long-standing one. It is closely associated with the idea of public service ethos, which is rooted in an understanding that the public service is different from the private sector, both because of the tasks it performs and the behaviours it expects of its employees.
Public service motivation is not the only or even the most important criterion of individuals choosing to take up, or remain in, public service employment. Recent research cites the superseding importance of good, or at least market-rate, levels of pay and security of tenure. The prevailing economic situation in the country and longstanding cultural issues which impact on the prestige and social standing of public officials are likewise relevant. However, public service motivation does matter, and among the intrinsic reasons that come into play when individuals chose where to work it is highly significant.
This seminar will cover the four central themes which help organisations develop an organisation culture grounded in public service motivation.
Transformational or value-based leadership
Strong, effective leadership is consistently shown to be a major driver of employee satisfaction and commitment. However, transformational leadership goes further than effective change management, good communications and other characteristics of good leadership.
Person-organisation fit theory suggests that performance is enhanced when an employee’s values match organisational goals, values and culture.
Effective goal setting and job design
Given that many people are attracted to public service work by their motivation to serve and make a positive difference in others’ lives, it is essential that what is referred to as ‘the line of sight’ between their values and the task they are required to fulfil in the organisation is not lost.
Creating a supportive work environment
This is a particularly wide-ranging concept, with factors including the nature of informal relationships, the quality of communication, the way conflict is managed, the collegiality of the organisation and, not least, the incentive systems, which together shape the relationship between an employee’s public service motivation and their performance at work