Profiling Public Sector Choice: Perceptions and Motivational Determinants at the Pre-Entry Level

TítuloProfiling Public Sector Choice: Perceptions and Motivational Determinants at the Pre-Entry Level
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsSantinha, G, Carvalho, T, Forte, T, Fernandes, A, Tavares, J
Date Published26/01/2021

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development now guides public administrations in conveying all their functions. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), directly or indirectly, need effective public services and officials for successful implementation. Although working in public entities has been related to ‘a sense of duty and morality’, literature reports that motivation and sense of self-worth among public officials have been declining for many years, which in turn can endanger their performance, diminish their willingness to attend to civic affairs, and become committed to their organisation. Public officials’ motivation has been widely addressed through the lens of public service motivation and public sector motivation. Fewer studies, however, have focused on the factors of choice at a pre-level entry. This paper intends to address this gap by pondering on what influences student’s intention to work in the public sector. Understanding what drives potential future public officials’ motivation is crucial for public service sector effectiveness. Following a case study approach with a sample of 2251 undergraduate and post-graduate students of a Portuguese university, findings show an attribution of similar strengths and shortcomings to public and nonprofit sectors, a more positive perception of the private sector and job stability as the strongest motivation.


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