Does culture affect public service motivation? Evidence of sub-national differences in Switzerland

Ritz, Adrian; Brewer, Gene A. (2013). Does culture affect public service motivation? Evidence of sub-national differences in Switzerland. International public management journal, 16(2), pp. 224-251. Elsevier 10.1080/10967494.2013.817249

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This article explores societal culture as an antecedent of public service motivation. Culture can be a major factor in developing an institution-based theory of public service motivation. In the field of organization theory, culture is considered a fundamental factor for explaining organization behavior. But our review of the literature reveals that culture has not been fully integrated into public service motivation theory or carefully investigated in this research stream. This study starts to fill this gap in the literature by using institutionalism and social-identity theory to predict how the sub-national Germanic and Latin cultures of Switzerland, which are measured through the mother tongues of public employees and the regional locations of public offices, affect their levels of public service motivation. Our analysis centers on two large data sets of federal and municipal employees, and produces evidence that culture has a consistent impact on public service motivation. The results show that Swiss German public employees have a significantly higher level of public service motivation on the whole, while Swiss French public employees have a significantly lower level overall. Implications for theory development and future research are discussed.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


11 Centers of Competence > Center of Comptetence for Public Management (KPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Ritz, Adrian


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 350 Public administration & military science








Muriel Bärtschi

Date Deposited:

25 Apr 2014 09:10

Last Modified:

25 Apr 2014 09:10

Publisher DOI:



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