Collaborative Initiatives: How Public Service Motivation and Organizational Capacity Shape Public Servants' Support
Saturday, November 14, 2015 : 10:55 AM
Pearson II (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Abstract: Inter-organizational collaboration has been recognized as simultaneously vital to the performance of public organizations and highly difficult to manage successfully. Like most public sector processes, the attitudes and commitment of public servants to collaborative initiatives will be vital to their success. Until now, however, little public administration literature has explored factors that might influence the views of civil servants about collaboration, despite how critical these views may be for successful implementation. This study focuses on this question and explores two factors. First, public service motivation (PSM) is postulated as an individual difference factor which may differentiate levels of support for inter-organizational collaboration. Employees with high levels of PSM are said to have a strong desire to serve the public good, even if doing so entails significant personal sacrifice. Given both the potential and difficulty of inter-organizational collaboration in the public sector, such a tendency on the part of civil servants may be related to their willingness to engage in collaborative initiatives. Secondly, this study examines organizational factors which may influence the relationship between PSM and support for collaboration. Given that employees with high levels of PSM may see their organizations primarily as instruments for achieving public ends, this study explores whether perceived organizational capacity can strengthen the link between PSM and support for collaboration. Several dimensions of organizational capacity, including internal efficiency, well functioning organizational rules (green tape), innovation climate, and results-based human resource management, are described. Empirical hypotheses related to support for collaboration, PSM, and organizational capacity are tested using a survey of South Korean central government employees and hierarchical linear modeling. The results of the analysis suggest that PSM is a significant predictor of support for collaboration. Additionally, the results demonstrate that the link between PSM and support for collaboration is stronger for employees who view their organization as having high levels of capacity. Potential future research directions based on these results are discussed, as are their implications for the successful design of collaborative initiatives in the public sector.