Public Personnel Management

Sage Publications, Inc.
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Latest documents

  • Predictors of Turnover Intention in U.S. Federal Government Workforce: Machine Learning Evidence That Perceived Comprehensive HR Practices Predict Turnover Intention

    This study aims to identify important predictors of turnover intention and to characterize subgroups of U.S. federal employees at high risk for turnover intention. Data were drawn from the 2018 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS, unweighted N = 598,003), a nationally representative sample of U.S. federal employees. Machine learning Classification and Regression Tree (CART) analyses were conducted to predict turnover intention and accounted for sample weights. CART analyses identified six at-risk subgroups. Predictor importance scores showed job satisfaction was the strongest predictor of turnover intention, followed by satisfaction with organization, loyalty, accomplishment, involvement in decisions, likeness to job, satisfaction with promotion opportunities, skill development opportunities, organizational tenure, and pay satisfaction. Consequently, Human Resource (HR) departments should seek to implement comprehensive HR practices to enhance employees’ perceptions on job satisfaction, workplace environments and systems, and favorable organizational policies and supports and make tailored interventions for the at-risk subgroups.

  • Revisiting Motivations for a Public Service Career (MPSC): The Case of China

    Motivations for choosing a public service career have long been a core issue in public administration research. This study focuses on China. Using the self-determination theory (SDT) as the basic framework, we revise Chen et al.’s scale which captures multiple motivations for a public service career (MPSC). We then validate the revised scale with responses from a questionnaire. The results show five distinct dimensions of MPSC, and all of them are associated with work-related attitudes and perceptions in different ways. In the conclusion, we discuss the theoretical and practical contributions of this study.

  • Transformational Leadership and Employees’ Helping Behavior in Public Organizations: Does Organizational Structure Matter?

    Although transformational leadership (TFL) has been recognized as a significant predictor of follower work behaviors, open questions remain concerning whether its effectiveness is universally valid or contingent on context. Building on social exchange theory and leadership contingency theory, we propose that TFL affects employees’ helping behavior, and this relationship depends on centralized and formalized structural contexts. The results show that TFL is positively associated with employees’ helping behavior; however, when moderated by centralization and formalization, TFL is negatively associated with employees’ helping behavior. The results recognize that organizations’ structural characteristics should not be ignored in TFL literature and practice.

  • Civil Service Reform Is Dead: Long Live Civil Service Reform

    The federal civil service system is widely regarded as obsolete. The pay of federal employees bears little relation to the market, narrowly defined jobs hamper the assignment of tasks, and byzantine hiring rules impede the procurement of needed skills. The theory of punctuated equilibrium holds that an episode of rapid and dramatic change portends, that the pressures for change will build and that some exogenous event will trigger a reform event similar to what happened in the mid-2000s subsequent to the 9/11 terrorist incident. Does another episode of punctuated equilibrium impend or is change more likely to occur in an incremental manner? Distinctive features of the policy subsystem make evident the improbability of another episode of “grand reform.” Recent developments further highlight a dynamic element whereby small-scale adjustments are being employed to address some of the system’s most dysfunctional aspects.

  • What Makes Government Work Great: The Characteristics of Positive Public Service

    Optimal work experiences in the public sector do not receive the attention they deserve. And, though positive psychology research has shown that flourishing in the workplace is connected to healthier and more fulfilled employees as well as improved organizational performance, the public sector has largely taken a backseat as a subject of study in this field. This article addresses this shortcoming by conducting in-depth interviews of current and former public servants to identify the most prevalent features of their best work experiences and their connection to the components of prominent well-being theories. Five characteristics of positive public service emerged: challenge, efficacy, camaraderie, empowerment, and service. Several well-being components were connected to these characteristics as were other features such as hardship, novelty, leadership, and helping others. These findings provide a stronger theoretical basis to suggest that more can be—and should be—expected of government work.

  • How to Facilitate Innovative Behavior and Organizational Citizenship Behavior: Evidence From Public Employees in Korea

    For decades, scholars and practitioners have paid serious attention to how to facilitate extra-role behaviors of employees. While many studies have been conducted, it is not yet clear what factors facilitate or suppress those behaviors within organizations and how those factors interact with each other. The current research focuses on two extra-role behaviors of employees: innovative behavior and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). Both behaviors have been discussed as determinants of individual and organizational performance. Filling the gap of the existing studies, the current research comprehensively considers organizational characteristics, task characteristics, and motivational factors in explaining those behaviors. Integrating two data sets, the 2015 and 2016 Perception of Public Officials Surveys administered by the Korea Institute of Public Administration (KIPA), we conducted a hierarchical linear model (HLM) analysis to examine the effects of determinants in the Korean context. Based on the multi-level analysis, this research demonstrates the positive influence of autonomy and PSM on both behaviors. Among organizational-level variables, cooperative culture increases the innovative behavior, whereas the lack of organizational support decreases it. We provide several managerial implications based on the findings.

  • The Role of Goal Specificity in the Relationship Between Leadership and Empowerment

    Although there has been much recent attention to empowerment in public sector research, most of this research focuses on structural empowerment, rather than psychological empowerment, and thus focuses on management practices, rather than on employees’ motivational states. This article examines the processes through which transformational leadership and transactional leadership affect employees’ feelings of psychological empowerment, focusing specifically on the role of goal specificity as a mediating variable. Using data collected from state government employees, the structural equation modeling (SEM) analyses found support for hypotheses that goal specificity mediates the relationships between both transformational and transactional leadership and psychological empowerment. These results contribute to the discussion of transformational and transactional leadership approaches with regard to goal setting in the public sector and provide practical implications that public managers’ leadership behaviors can help employees develop positive attitudes toward goal specificity, which can then lead to feelings of psychological empowerment.

  • An Overlooked Cost of Contracting Out: Evidence From Employee Turnover Intention in U.S. Federal Agencies

    Contracting out has long been used in all levels of government in the United States, with federal contract spending increasing 8% to 9% annually since 2015. The literature on contracting out has examined the impact of this practice on the work-related attitudes and motivation of public employees who have transitioned to work for private contractors. However, we understand very little about the effects of contracting out on the overwhelming number of public employees who are not displaced. Given the importance of work-related attitudes and turnover for organizations, this study explores the potential consequences of contracting out for employee turnover intention over a period of several years. The results of panel data analyses suggest that an increase in contracting activity in federal agencies increases the employee turnover intention rate. Contracting out also impacts employee turnover intention indirectly through its influence on job satisfaction.

  • Does Perceptions of Organizational Prestige Mediate the Relationship Between Public Service Motivation, Job Satisfaction, and the Turnover Intentions of Federal Employees?

    Public opinion polls consistently suggest that government employment is not considered to be highly prestigious by most Americans. These negative images are likely to stifle the public sector’s recruitment and retention efforts. Scholars have suggested that individuals with high levels of public service motivation (PSM) are better equipped to work in these environments, yet no studies can be found that have directly explored the relationships between PSM and the perceptions that public employees hold regarding the images that citizens hold of their organizations. This article sought to fill this gap in the literature by exploring the extent to which perceptions of organizational prestige (POP) mediate the relationship between PSM and the job satisfaction and turnover intentions of public employees. Using a sample of federal employees working for the Transportation Security Administration in Oregon, this study found that POP fully mediated the relationship between PSM and turnover intentions and partially mediated the relationship between PSM and job satisfaction. The implications of these findings are discussed.

  • Ethical Climate and Whistleblowing Intentions: Testing the Mediating Roles of Public Service Motivation and Psychological Safety Among Local Government Employees

    Local governments in several developing countries are plagued with corruption. This study draws attention to the role of organizational ethical climate in promoting whistleblowing intentions among local government employees and asks whether public service motivation (PSM) and perceptions of psychological safety mediate this relationship. Based on survey data of 365 employees in 40 local governments in Thailand, our multilevel analysis confirms that the relationships between ethical climate and internal and external whistleblowing intentions were indirect. In particular, psychological safety was found to play a mediating role at both the individual and organizational levels of analysis, whereas the mediating role of PSM was observed only at the individual level. The findings also revealed the presence of “collective PSM” at the organizational level, which in turn helped to facilitate external whistleblowing intentions. This research unveils the importance of individual- and organization-level factors in the whistleblowing decision-making process.

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