The Tacit Dimension of Public Sector Attraction in Multi-Incentive Settings – Fabian Homberg

The Tacit Dimension of Public Sector Attraction in Multi-Incentive Settings

di Fabian Homberg


The public sector provides a broad range of incentives to apply for jobs, but these incentives have rarely been studied in concert. The present study disentangles how job candidates form intentions to apply for a public sector job in multi-incentive settings and how this process depends on public service motivation (PSM). Using a speeded categorization task in an experimental vignette methodology with 340 current job seekers in the United Kingdom, we focus on perceptions that potential applicants have, or do not have, of a range of employment attributes (i.e., extrinsic, intrinsic, and prosocial) when they screen job advertisements. Results of multilevel analyses suggest that perceptions of intrinsic and extrinsic attributes are similarly strong predictors of the intent to apply for public sector jobs, whereas perceptions of prosocial employment attributes do not yield such an overall effect. However, PSM moderates the relationship between perceptions of prosocial attributes and application intentions, but only among nonstudents. Theoretical implications for the alignment of PSM with extrinsic rewards are discussed. Findings are also important for human resource managers in the public sector who want to adjust their recruitment strategies to specific target groups.

“The Tacit Dimension of Public Sector Attraction in Multi-Incentive Settings”, by Fabian Homberg (with Julia Asseburg, Judith Hattke, Davide Hensel and Rick Vogel). (2020). Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 30(1): 41-59. doi:10.1093/jopart/muz004

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