P31 SIG Public Service Motivation

Corresponding and review chair

Carina Schott, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. c.schott@uu.nl

Panel chairs

Gene A. Brewer, University of Georgia, United States 

Adrian Ritz, University of Bern, Switzerland 

Wouter Vandenabeele, Utrecht University, The Netherlands


Public service motivation refers to an individual’s desire to help others, improve the well-being of society, and work towards the common good and public interest. Such motives are not the exclusive province of public sector employees; rather, they are exhibited by many other individuals including politicians, volunteers, nonprofit and private sector employees, government contractors, and private citizens, all of whom may perform meaningful public service during their lifetimes. In a context of turbulent times, crises, and stormy politics, the role public service motives play in various collaborative settings between individuals such as politicians and administrators, or between collaborating public and private organizations, is of particular relevance. We are looking for empirical and theoretical research papers addressing questions such as:

  • How do value conflicts and tensions between politics, administration, and civil society affect public employees’ motivation and work-related outcomes?
  • How does the phenomenon of public service motivation as a traditionally strong pillar of bureaucrats’ identity change under specific circumstances, such as in turbulent times and crises?
  • Do crises in society, politics, and administration diminish public service values taken for granted so far?
  • What role does public service motivation play in times of crisis management and (public) crisis leadership?

In addition, other paper ideas on the topics of public service motivation and its implications for leadership and performance in public, private, or hybrid organizations and in civil society, i.e., outside the working context, are welcome.

Chairs’ experience in running conference panels

All four panel chairs have extensive experience in running panels and organizing research conferences. They have run the panel on public service motivation since 2010 and have experience as panel chairs at conferences such as the annual conference of the European Group of Public Administration, the Public Management Research Association, the German Academic Association of Business Research, and many other conferences and research workshops.

Information on format of panel

The IRSPM 2023 conference will be organized as a ‘physical event only.’ No hybrid or online sessions will be offered. We expect to have about three to four panel sessions, which will be organized according to the topics of papers.

Standard panel format will include paper presentations and Q&A with the audience, perhaps supplemented by a keynote speech. In addition, a session will be organized for presentations on research project proposals.

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