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Attracting public service motivated employees: How to design compensation packages

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikel

Public sector managers want to attract employees with high public service motivation as they are expected to perform better. The public service motivation literature rarely gives practical advice on how this can be done. Recognizing that compensation packages act as a sorting device that can be used to attract specific types of workers, we combine empirical measures of public service motivation with a newly developed approach to employees' monetary valuation of compensation packages. This tool can be used to improve recruitment and retention of employees with high public service motivation. We find that public service motivated employees have a lower preference for bonus payments and stronger preferences for health care packages, but the associations depend on the specific context in which the employees work. This implies that the employees' perceptions of the compatibility between the compensation package elements and societal interest should be taken into account, when the employees are motivated by doing good for society. Points for practitioners The findings of the article have implications for public managers who want to improve performance in their organizations by attracting employees with a high level of public service motivation. Our results indicate that bonuses should then be avoided, especially in administrative positions and when an emotion-based orientation towards doing good for others and society is important. Health care packages are generally a good idea, when it is important to attract employees who want to do good for the specific users of the service. Private health packages should, however, be avoided in public health care organizations. © The Author(s) 2012.
TidsskriftInternational Review of Administrative Sciences
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)615-641
Antal sider27
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2012
Eksternt udgivetJa


  • compensation packages, personal economics, public management, public service motivation

ID: 230397400