Research Spotlight: Dr. Dennis Doverspike - Public Sector Motivation

Why are some people attracted to careers in public service? Are there unique characteristics that explain why some people seek jobs or organizations where they can serve others or work for the good of the public? A construct that has been hypothesized to predict a preference for working in the public sector is Public Service Motivation (PSM), which is a stable, positive attitude toward, or valuation of, work in the public sector as a means of bettering society and helping others.  Dr. Dennis Doverspike, assisted by his graduate students, has been conducting research focused on PSM and its relationship to recruitment and selection practices.

A meta-analysis of all available research on PSM was recently completed as a Master’s thesis. This study consolidated laboratory and field research from over 145,000 participants across all major employment sectors to identify important antecedents and outcomes associated with PSM and provide a model to guide future research. Other projects involve understanding applicant perceptions of organizational culture and brand image across various employment sectors utilizing simulated job searches and selection tests. The aim of most of this work is to inform best practice for the design of organizational recruitment sites, online selection tests, and public sector selection practices.