Conceptual Models of the Individual Public Service Provider: A Double Mirror?

Lotte Bøgh Andersen, Yosef Bhatti, Ole Helby Petersen, Kurt Houlberg, Lene Holm Pedersen

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


    Individual public service providers’ motivation can be conceptualized as either extrinsic, autonomous or prosocial, and the question is how we can best theoretically understand this complexity without losing too much coherence and parsimony. Drawing on Allison’s approach (1969), three perspectives are used to gain insight on the motivation of public service providers; namely principal-agent theory, self-determination theory and public service motivation theory. We situate the theoretical discussions in the context of public service providers being transferred to private organizations as a consequence of outsourcing by the public sector. Although this empirical setting is interesting in itself, here it serves primarily as grist for a wider discussion on strategies for applying multiple theoretical approaches and crafting a theoretical synthesis. The key contribution of the paper is thus theoretical – to develop a coherent model of individual public service providers – but the empirical illustration also contributes to our understanding of motivation in the context of public sector outsourcing.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2017
    Number of pages30
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    EventPublic Management Research Conference. PMRC 2017 - American University, Washington, D.C., United States
    Duration: 8 Jun 201710 Jun 2017
    Conference number: 15


    ConferencePublic Management Research Conference. PMRC 2017
    LocationAmerican University
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CityWashington, D.C.
    Internet address

    Cite this