The impact of public service motivation on the turnover intentions of federal employees
This dissertation addresses the impact of public service motivation on the turnover intentions of federal employees. A survey measuring four types of public service motivation--attraction to policy-making, compassion, public interest, and self sacrifice--along with several traditional predictors of employee turnover was distributed to a random sample of 1,600 federal employees. The findings demonstrate significant relationships between turnover intentions and the traditional predictors of turnover but fail to demonstrate significant direct relationships between the measures of public service motivation and turnover intentions. However, the measures of public service motivation appear to indirectly affect turnover intentions through their relationship with organization commitment. The dissertation suggests that a larger and more diverse sample of federal employees might yield different findings, as would a study that investigates the turnover intentions of state and local government workers who have more direct contact with the general public and the clientele of their public agencies. The dissertation further suggests that future research might investigate the impact on turnover intentions of the interaction between public service motivation and the degree to which employees' jobs allow them to fulfill their public service motivation. Retention of employees will save government agencies money, resources, and knowledge talent. However, given its methodological limitations, this dissertation reveals that four popular forms of public service motivation do not predict federal employees' intentions to turnover. Instead, organization commitment, job satisfaction, and person-organization fit--three traditional predictors of employee turnover--are better predictors of federal employee turnover intentions.