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Determinant Power of “Public Service Motivation” for “Job Satisfaction” and “Customer Service Orientation”: In Case of People’s Republic of China

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The current study is an initiative to measure the impact of determinants of “Public Service Motivations” (PSM) and to understand its impact on employee’s job satisfaction and over the intentions of “Customer Service Orientation” among employees. The study was conducted in the most of the populated region of P.R. China. Specifically, the consumer banking sector was targeted. The “Self-sacrifice” of PSM observed strongest determinant while defining job satisfaction, and customer service orientation. The study concludes that “compensation” as a part and the bits of Public Service Motivations (PSM) observed with non-determining power for job satisfaction and customer service orientation in the case of Chinese context. In the nutshell, the PSM concluded as strong determinant to understand the job satisfaction and the public service motivation where self-sacrifice is the strongest predictor of PSM in micro level view.

1. Introduction

The perception of motivation within the realm of public management and public administration is highly affected by the development of new public management as a field. The advanced rational choice theory [1] [2] is derived from the private sector management techniques, along with the study of government as political economy [3] . One of the most important human resource management functions for an organization is performance management. It gives an insight and helps in differentiating good and not so good performers. Performance management is used to measure the overall organization’s wellbeing. In order to set goals and verify if the organization is meeting those set goals measuring and managing performance is of utmost importance. As performance management gives a sense of direction, i.e., the organization is achieving the right goals. Therefore, performance management is considered as set of complete, broad, cohesive, calculated and thorough set of activities having deep effects. Interestingly, the performance management in terms of relational analysis with public service motivation is still under the limelight for decades.

One of the tools for measuring efficiency is performance appraisal, and it is reintroduced in the public sector during late 1970’s, under the upsurge of the liberal reform popularly known as the New Public Management (NPM). It hypothesizes that public sector can be managed in a market like course allows go back over about how private sector practices can be functional in the public sector. Thus, performance management of public sector officeholders got impulse in order to know how much is added by whom, what was it, why was contribution important, and how. This will contribute to generate reasonable worth from public cash. It all started in 1980s and many countries have made use of this change and revised their performance appraisal systems so that they can check their civil servants are making most of resources. More recent emphasis on performance measurement in the public sector has been considerably governed by the New Public Management (NPM) drive, which brings citizens into center and is more result oriented as citizens considered as customers in the new model [1] .

The initiative of NPM in general, and the emphasis on result orientation in the late 1980s, in particular, have provided the lines to aid management minimize the annual budget deficits, lower government debts and increase performance with the intentions to extract the best effort and defining performance. There is a need to quantify the performance measurement of management. Also based up on the performance the incentives have to be given while keeping unforgiving accountability. The incentives trigger the need to address “Public Service Motivation” (PSM) as concept is very broad therefore a primary definition of PSM has been fabricated. This description not only defines PSM, but also encapsulates the broader behavioral factors such as ethics and roles. First of all, while defining PMS the boarders are extended approach to underline self-interest or the institutional or firm level interest [4] . It is not that individual or organizational interests cannot overlap with the public interest. However, when self-interest and organizational interests are brought in comparison with public interest, and the critical part of public interest succeeds. Interestingly, the social scientists i.e. Rainey & Steinbauer [5] sketched the core of PSM denotes to societies, states, legislative bodies, nations and international soft powers or civilization. This infers that the main emphasis is political and therefore PSM centered into a political system. As this is comprehensive to define and exert the importance to apply motivational psychology. According to Heckhausen [6] , motivation is a generic word which covers a number of behaviors where the realization of a goal is essential part. Motivation exists in the partnership of individual ethics and a real condition that allows an individual to recognize these goals. In other words, when individual characteristics are enhanced in a situation in order to achieve some target motivation can be evidenced. In other words, motivation is a mediator which lies between interface of individual values and a prospect for a conduct on the one hand and actual behavior on the other hand.

The current study is an initiative to understand the PSM among Chinese public sector institutes and to identify the connection and association between the determinants of PSM and Job satisfaction among the employees. Moreover, the “Customer Service Orientation” examined as the final outcome of the PSM determinants and job satisfaction of the employees. It is interesting to be observed as Chinese culture has been previously observed to be more collective in terms of existing pool of literature. The following sections will discuss the academic evolution of PSM and its constructs, the methodology used in the paper and findings from the current study.

2. Literature Review

Since 1980’s, a diverse set of studies have been published exploring the explanation, measurement and effects of PSM. However, still the need of further exploration of the concept can be felt so that the assimilated acquaintance be utilized into a more effective way. With all the knowledge in the area there is still an open gap between the acquired knowledge and its use. In spite of all the existing efforts by researchers to expand the horizon of PSM by drawing on influences from different disciplines (e.g., psychological economics, psychology, and political science), yet, there is no widely acknowledged theoretical framework for the PSM. This lack of a largely recognized academic framework for the PSM is a clear indication that the area requires further exploration. The first definition of PSM was established by Perry and Wise in year 1990 [7] . They defined PSM as “an individual’s predisposition to respond to motives grounded primarily or uniquely in public institutions and organizations”. Later Brewer and Selden contributed with another definition: “strong motives to perform meaningful public, community, and social service”, “prevalent in the public service” [8] . Based on the existent literature Rainey and Steinbauer (1999), further defined PSM as a “general altruistic motivation to serve the interests of a community of people, a state, a nation or humankind” [5] . Vandenabeele gave the most recent and most realistic view of PSM as “the belief, values and attitudes that go beyond self-interest and organizational interest, that concern the interest of a larger political entity and that motivate individuals to act accordingly whenever appropriate” [9] .

Different measurement scales proposed for estimate value for PSM are based upon a number of dimensions. Different sets of dimensions are identified and are interrelated in order to get some measurements associated with PSM. The first matrix of measurement for PSM as a concept is provided by Perry [7] . He theorized that desirability for policy-making as a process, obligation to shape and formulate the effective public interest, provide best social justice, to be performed by the public represents the best civic duty, compassion and the best effort to make the self-sacrifice were the core and most important six dimensions however it’s all extracted from the 40 sub-items, could measure PSM. Coursey and Pandey reviewed and revisited the cogency of a tool and set of vital elements with 3 major dominating dimensions, obtained eliminating self-sacrifice, and 10 items selected from Perry’s measurement scale (1996) [10] .

Perry, Brudney, Coursey, & Littlepage [11] established the 4 dimensions and twenty-four items scale on “a sample of morally committed individuals who do important service for others but who, for the most past, were not professional public administrators” it was interesting to know that Kim observed that these matrixes are not universal and some countries might have different circumstances and therefore results may vary [12] , they tested the same well established four dimensions and 24 items measurement instrument as that of Perry, Brudney, Coursey, & Littlepage [11] to Korea and determined that it was not a good fit for Korean environment. This gives rise to need of another study to verify the internal validity of different tools established over different surroundings. Therefore, Wright and Christensen [13] established the internal validity of 4 distinct matrixes of PSM measurement instrument and the valued scale, all mentioned above: Perry [7] ; Coursey & Pandey [10] ; Perry, Brudney, Coursey, & Littlepage [11] ; and Kim & Vandenabeele [12] .

It is observed that the variables for the instance: the determining value of individual and organization performance, potential of having retention in the culture or herd behavior, appraisal process, and the direction of efforts either positivity or negatively co-related with PSM. Kim [14] while studying PMS on Korean Governmental officials and bureaucracy, observed some individual factors as job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behavior, affective organizational commitment. Langbein [15] observed that for retention of United States federal government employees the appreciation and engagement of work is more important than monetary benefits. Also he observed that the proper job description, clear link between day to day tasks and overall organizational goals are also of main importance to keep employs motivated. Whereas, Taylor [16] focused on Australian market and in his study regarding public and private Australian sectors. He detected a strong and direct relationship between features of job satisfaction and organizational commitment and PSM. It is also being observed that PMS directly predicts the employees need for personal recognition and meaningfulness of tasks in public sector. PMS may govern the performance appraisal process [13] . Paine [17] has put forward that PSM is the most reliable interpreter of the advices of work efforts. Brewer [18] observed the difference in attitudes of work force and claimed that public sector employees are much more dynamic when it comes to community activities and are always ready to enhance the social capital as compare to any other group of people. Cerase & Farinella [19] observed high co relation between PSM, and each of work motivation, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment. Similarly, Brudney, Coursey, Littlepage, and Perry [11] revealed that PSM is suggestively co-related to family socialization, religious activities, and volunteer experiences. Hsieh & Yang [20] explored another aspect and examined how different sorts of emotive effort relays to PSM. In the observations they have establish that the element of desirability to policy making is directly related with face acting, whereas the element of empathy is inversely related to fact acting, and directly related to deep acting. Vandenabeele, Scheepers, & Hondeghem [21] established the belief that PSM is an empirical concept. According to their study, the argument about PSM is based in the fact that it is difficult to place PMS into the “rational choice” theories. These rational choice theories have made their place and have ruled public administration and related disciplines [22] . The core of rational choice theories underlies in the notion that behind each social action there lies a motive of accomplishment of a precise objective. Therefore, the aftereffects of this act are designed on a rational base [22] . Hence this theory concludes that value intensification is the only purpose. Earlier Dunleavy & Hood advocates that in public sector that value maximization may directly mean the maximization of power as well as monetary benefits. However, PMS researchers claim that the PSM concept cannot entirely base on such theories. There are a number of explanations which relate motivation and PSM. Firstly, it must be established and accepted that employee motivation stays central in field of management, at practical as well as theoretical level. Therefore, it has to be undertaken as a mixed subject. On detailed analysis of the literature about motivation, has brought forward that fifteen theories have been presented in favor of 32 theoretical variants. This highlights the complexity of the concept and exemplifies that so far there is no agreement for the design of a unified theoretical framework. Secondly, this literature analysis has indicated the possible division of motivation theories into two categories: content based theories and process based theories. They claimed that content based theories theorize performance as the result of distinctive emotional features [23] such as, needs. In contrast, they support that the process based theories present behavior as strengthened, focused, and constant. PSM actually describes the performance with reference to distinctive psychological needs. Therefore, it may be fair to deduce that PSM has its roots in content motivation theories. Thirdly, it is also advocated that content motivation theories are generally open for multi-factor constructs as compared to process theories. This is mainly because multiple factor based construct of motivation, as for M, has main emphasis on the factors which affect the construct and how they relate to the construct as opposed to the reasoning for motives behind decision making as it relate to behavior.

In terms of formulate construct for “Customer Service Orientation”, the Saxe’s SOCO instrument will be considered [23] which explains the scale to measure employee’s degree to which they engage in service citizens over the workspace. It’s been observed as an integral part of marketing for long time in academic research. It can be categorized as a desire to help, provide service, in the adaptive representation, and to avoid high psychological pressure and to maximize the matching with citizen’s interest [23] . The interpersonal skills set being research and comprehensively defined as critical part of the CSO [24] . Moreover, the CSO with the job satisfaction triggered enormous amount of studies explained in different environments [25] . Furthermore, it’s been studied in the context of financial sector [26] . In the current study, the financial sector in Mainland of China will be focused, where PSM’s constructs will be examined to understand its impact on the employee’s job satisfaction and “perceived customer service orientation”. The list of hypotheses will be as following:

H1: Positivity in term of “Attraction towards policy making” (AM) increases “Job Satisfaction” (SE) among employees.

H2: Positivity in term of “Attraction towards policy making” (AM) increases “Customer Service Orientation” (CO) among employees.

H3: Positive “Commitment towards public interest” (CI) increases “Job Satisfaction” (SE) among employees.

H4: Positive “Commitment towards public interest” (CI) increases “Customer Service Orientation” (CO) among employees.

H5: Employees’ sense of “Compensation” in terms of PSM (Cm) increases “Job Satisfaction” (SE) among employees.

H6: Employees’ sense of “Compensation” in terms of PSM (Cm) increase “Customer Service Orientation” (CO) among employees.

H7: Employees’ sense of “Self-Sacrifices” as a part of PSM (SS) increases “Job Satisfaction” (SE) among employees.

H8: Employees’ sense of “Self-Sacrifices” as a part of PSM (SS) increases “Customer Service Orientation” (CO) among employees.

H9: Increase in “Job Satisfaction” (SE) creates positive trend in “Customer Service Orientation” (CO) among employees.

The graphical explanation of the model for the study is shown in the model is shown in Figure 1.

3. Methodology

The deductive manner of study followed where the pre-defined model followed, the interpretivism as a philosophy followed as the findings can’t conclude the law like generalization, Moreover, the survey based quantitative survey performed where the non-probability convenience sampling method followed.

To measure the individual’s satisfaction, opinion and attitude, about innovation or managerial development, the survey as methodology is intensively observed [27] [28] . During the current course of study, the quantitative approach,

Figure 1. Graphical representation of the model for the current study.

in the deductive fashion will be followed where the quantitative tools (i.e. SPSS AMOS and Statistics) will be used.

During the current course of the research, mixed online and offline (internet based and paper based) survey conducted in the setting of public sector institutes across the country. As a pre text, the ANOVA performed to examine any kind of difference in the different public service institutions across the region. Since, it was recorded that no significant gap in terms of approximation and difference is recorded while understanding the perception of variables in the current study (employee’s Satisfaction and “Public Service Motivation” (PSM)).

In the summary, the collected sample from 313 employees collected in the first primary results, among them after verifying the completeness of the responses the 248 self-administrated response sets considered for the further analysis to examine the hypotheses of the study. In the conceptual examination of the responses, 62% of the responses were female. Among them 68% response sets were aware about the “New Public Management” practices as a concept with the Chinese Characteristics. Interestingly, most of the response set was highly satisfied with their job. This trend of being satisfied is also been observed to be highly dependent on the experience as higher experience people were more satisfied to be observed in the current study.

The validated instrument for the Public Service Motivation (PSM) taken by the existing contribution by Perry (1996) as its been observed intensively used and practices in the sphere of New Public Management, Job Satisfaction as a validated and extensively practices scale by Wright and Cropanzano (1998) and to define and understand “Customer Service Orientation”, the Saxe and Weitz’ SOCO Scale modified and adopted to examine public sector employees’ citizen orientation [23] . It been observed to be practiced previously in the public sector environment by Korunka (2007). Each of the item scaled over the range of 1 - 5 Likert scale which comprised range from strongly disagree to strongly agree. The final version of the questionnaire selected by translating the questionnaire into Chinese and to easily understandable by the target audience. To avoid the error related to generalizability, the dual version created and spreader into corporate and consumer banking sector in P.R. China as both of the sectors used to deal with customers (citizens) as sensitive level of responsibility. The responses from both of the audience observed will ignore differences which were supported for the reliability of the findings.

The academic professional consulted for pre-test of the instrument and Chinese natives consulted to avoid ambiguity in the words section while translating instrument into Chinese language. During the pilot test, the high level of internal consistency supported as Cronbach of range from 0.712 to 0.940 [29] .

The model of the study examined using the IBM SPSS Statistics version 19 and AMOS version 23. Specifically, Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) used to perform hypotheses testing and path analysis. The statistical operation to examine the validity and reliability at internal and external level the exploratory factor analysis performed which lead and followed by the confirmatory factor analysis while sketching the model for the study. The model estimated while using ‘maximum likelihood’ as estimation method in the study.

4. Analysis

As a part of convergence and divergence reliability and validity examination, the standard deviations of each of the construct for the current study and mean values of each variable are mentioned in the Table 1. Specifically, the mean value is observed in the range between 2.780 and 3.975. Similarly, the standard deviation recorded between 0.546 and 0.813. The Cronbach alpha value of all the constructs observed above 0.70 which defines the constructs valid internally [30] .

Table 1. Survey items’ mean, deviation in each item, correlation and square root of AVEs.

The exploratory factor analysis performed with the support of statistical tool. The exploratory factor analysis followed by the confirmatory factor analyses whereas the range of the all measurements observed in the control range as advised by Anderson and Gerbing [31] . The loadings by using maximum likelihood as extraction method as shown in Table 2. The loadings for each of the construct are exceptionally high. The composite reliability with the customer service orientation (CO) as 0.8071 observed lowest among all constructs of the model. The Cronbach alpha value of 0.825 commitment for public interest (CI) notes as the lowest among constructs studied. The average variance extracted (AVE) recorded as 0.5443 for commitment to public interest noted lowest in the constructs. All the reliability and validity examinations, specifically composite reliability (CR), Average Variance Extracted (AVE), Cronbach alpha (CA), all followed and observed values within the recommended ranges [31] . All scales observed to be followed under the convergent validity [32] as shown in Table 2. Similarly, the discriminatory validity observed in the current study, as the squared correlation among each of the construct observed to be lower than the square root value of AVE for each of the variable as observed in Table 2, as recommended in the academic literature [33] [34] .

Table 2 shows Survey Items’ Mean, Deviation in each item, Correlation and square root of AVEs.

All the discriminatory validity observed to be significantly supported and examined as shown in Table 1 and Table 2.

Table 2. Reliability analysis for each of the construct.

The model fit in terms of path analysis and model validity examined as shown in Table 3. The model fit with the chi-square in the current study computed as 264.273 with the degree of freedom level of 155 in the current statistical examination. It’s all been observed with the probability level of ranged at 0.000. This concludes the absolute model fitness indexes are preferred to be observed and examined. The chi-square to degree of freedom statistically preferred to be ranged between 1 and 3. In the current examination, it’s recorded as 1.70 and in the preferred range [36] . The fitness indexes in SEM analysis classified as absolute, non-central and relative indexes. The GFI, AGFI, NFI, TLI, RMSEA and CFI observed in the current study as shown in Table 3. The absolute indexes of GFI and AGFI with the value of 0.929 and 0.904 noted. The non-centrality indices of RSMEA and CFI observed with 0.047 and 0.971. In the relative indices, the value of NFI and TLI noted as 0.934 and 0.965. It is recorded that all the indexes followed the suitable and preferred range of values in return and during model examination [36] . All indexes are mentioned in Table 3.

After comprehensively reviewing the reliability analysis and the model fitness indices, the path analysis for 4 exogenous variables for Job satisfaction and 5 exogenous factors for “Customer Service orientation” will be examined as shown in Figure 2. The Attention towards policy (AM), Commitment towards policy (CI), Compensation (Cm) and essence of Self-sacrifice (SS) observed while deifying Job satisfaction (SE). Similarly, AM, CI, Cm, SS and SE observed to compute the Customer service orientation (CO) in the case of current environment. Statistically, the strongest determinant of Job satisfaction observed as Self-sacrifices with the representation value of 38% of variance among exogenous for Job Satisfaction (SE). In the case of “Customer Service Orientation” (CO), Self-sacrifice (SS) represented again as the strongest determinant among all exogenous factors of CO.

In the current sub-section of the paper, each of the hypotheses examined separately while examining proposed model in the study. In total, 3 out of 9 hypotheses were not supported in the current study. Specifically, H2, H3, and H7 are

Table 3. Recorded indexes measured in SEM (analysis).

Figure 2. Path analysis of current study.

observed with non-supportive range. In other words, the “Commitment level” (CI) and “Compensation” (CM) observed non supportive while defining and explaining Job satisfaction. Similarly, “Compensation” (CM) recorded non supportive in the case of defining “customer service orientation” as well as shown in Table 4. The AM, SS in job satisfaction with the value β = 0.273, p < 0.001; β = 0.384, p < 0.001 respectively observed. Similarly, the value of AM, CI, SS and SE noted as β = 0.152, p < 0.05; β = 0.189, p < 0.05; value β = 0.338, p < 0.001; and β = 0.217, p < 0.05 respectively, as shown in Table 4.

5. Discussion and Conclusion

The study concludes that in the case of P.R. China, the institution level factors life “basic need responsiveness” and “institutional values” collectively affect the individual’s identify regulation and PSM. We conducted survey in the mainland of China to translate the ground realities to understand the phenomena of PSM. In other words, the institutional factors affect the individuals and overall behavior in the organizational structure. This aspect triggers the need to understand

Table 4. Evaluation and analysis of hypotheses.

the institutional approach to understand PSM. The behavior of the individuals’ is collective output of institutional and individualistic factors. In the current study, it can be concluded that the national dominating institutional culture have less importance for “compensation” to enhance individual’s PSM and behavior. Moreover, in the collective strong culture, the role of “self-sacrifice” is the strongest construct to conceptualize PSM. The further examination of PSM in transition economies can be reviewed under the limelight of the current study’s findings. Moreover, the sample size can be increased and organizations’ diversity can bring more interesting results in the future studies.


I would like to thank all the people who participated in the data-sample as participants, and a special thanks to Fahad Asmi for his tireless support.

Cite this paper

Sadiq (2018) Determinant Power of “Public Service Motivation” for “Job Satisfaction” and “Customer Service Orientation”: In Case of People’s Republic of China. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 6, 29-42. doi: 10.4236/jss.2018.61003.


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