The Effect of Public Service Motivation at Individual, Group, and Organisational Levels of Citizenship Behaviour

The Effect of Public Service Motivation at Individual, Group, and Organisational Levels of Citizenship Behaviour

Kuo-Tai Cheng (National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan), Yuan-Chieh Chang (National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan) and Changyen Lee (National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/IRMJ.2020010103

Abstract

This study conceptualizes and empirically investigates how dimensions of public service motivation affect perceived citizenship behaviour in the context of government-owned utilities. This study used a large-scale questionnaire survey from four utility sectors in Taiwan (N = 1,087). The emergent model suggests that compassion (COM) and self-sacrifice (SS) affect the perceived effectiveness of individual-level Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB). Commitment to the Public Interest (CPI) and Attraction to Public Policy making (APP) affect perceived effectiveness of OCB at the group and organisational levels, respectively. The results support the expected contribution of OCB, from the individual to the group levels, and from the group level to the organisational level. Public utility managers should strive to improve employee attitudes and motivation towards greater levels of OCB.
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1. Introduction

The increased importance of public service motivation (PSM) may be partly attributed to the emergence of new public management means of supplementing traditional public administration. For the latest technologies to improve PSM, they must be designed and developed to improve organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB) for managing organisational performance (Brewer, 2008; Grant, 2008; Pandey, Wright, & Moynihan, 2008; Podsakoff, Whiting, Podsakoff, & Blume, 2009). Unfortunately, many organisations do not give much attention to PSM and OCB (Kim, 2006; Steen, 2008), and some even overlook the issue of scale and scaling of OCB (Brief & Motowidlo, 1986). Therefore, our objective is to develop a better understanding of PSM and its effect on perceived OCB.

Research on PSM has focused on its positive effects on prosocial behavior, job satisfaction, and organisational performance. Scholars define OCB as prosocial behaviour that goes beyond formal requirements of the job and is beneficial to the organisation (Chang & Smithikrai, 2010). Examples include: assisting colleagues with their tasks, devoting time to assist new entrants to the organisation, defending their organisational reputation, or even taking voluntary salary-cut. However, there are different opinions about causes to OCB (Chang, Nguyen, Cheng, Kuo, & Lee, 2016). OCB improved employees’ achievements, led to better scores in performance evaluations, and increased employees’ sense of self-fulfillment and self-efficacy (Oplatka, 2006).

We view OCB as subjective rather than objective (Organ, 1990). This perspective contends that OCB is not independent of human experience; instead, it develops through social creation of meanings and concepts, and therefore loses a universal, objective character (Organ, 1997). The subjective nature of OCB is apparent in Kim’s (2006) view that it resides in the individual, in Organ’s view of OCB as “individual behavior that is discretionary, not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system, and that in the aggregate promotes the effective functioning of the organization” (Organ, 1988, p. 4). However, other views treat OCB as embodied in individuals, groups and organisations (Brief & Motowidlo, 1986). The subjective and context-sensitive nature of OCB implies that its categories and meanings depend on individual perception (Organ, 1990; P. M. Podsakoff, Ahearne, & MacKenzie, 1997; Smith, Organ, & Near, 1983).

Taiwan has worked hard to promote privatisation since 1989 in accordance with the global trend of liberalisation, and to cope with the current operational difficulties of government-owned enterprises. Privatisation per se has been a great challenge since it deals with a country’s economy, its finance, the utilisation of state property, the mechanism of the equity market and the benefits of some interest groups. To date, the progress of privatisation has lagged somewhat behind the original timetable because of difficulties in its implementation (Cheng, 2015). Generally speaking, all of these reasons for government-owned utility sectors are inherently based on this fundamental principle: government-owned utility sectors are obliged to fulfill multiple public objectives, some of which are explicitly social, although it is possible to vary the objectives of the privatisation programme of one country to another (Kirkpatrick, Nixson, & Cook, 1998). In particular, privatisation policy is involved in the change of ownership from the public sector to private firms. In theory, the ownership of GOEs is in the hand of the citizens. Further, there must be some dissimilarities and different operating goals between the public and private sectors. On the other hand, the real agenda of privatisation is not the difference between the public and private sectors, but the introduction of competition and market disciplines. However, privatisation policy is often expected to result in the ruination of public interest, and that is the major objection from its opponents.

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