The Centrality of Prosocial Values in Work Motivation among Public and Private Sector Employees
Purpose: The paper proposes an alternative measure of the importance of prosocial values in the work motivation of public and private sector employees. Hitherto research measures the importance of values by taking them as autonomous entities or using a factorial design, asking employees whether they adhere to a certain value or not.
Design/methodology/approach: Based on a psychological theory on values and motivation, the paper argues that it might be preferred to measure the centrality of prosocial values amidst other job motivators in the value system as a whole to assess the degree of prosocial values’ dominance.
Findings: The application of such a measure in a longitudinal and international comparative analysis shows that differences in the centrality of prosocial values make the difference between employees in the public and private sectors much more pronounced than usually found in the relevant literature. This finding does not disappear when the research model includes the nature of the job, individual characteristics, and societal features, such as the GDP per capita and the dominance of individualism over collectivism in society.
Significance: This research also shows that differences between employees adhering to intrinsic, extrinsic, and prosocial motivations are relative, as almost all employees – irrespective of where they work – assess values of job security and having an interesting job to be the most important work motivators.
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