Antecedents of Public Service Motivation: The Role of Gender

Antecedents of Public Service Motivation: The Role of Gender Abstract A good deal of research has been conducted in the area of public service motivation (PSM) over the past several decades. PSM maintains that people are predisposed to values or motives that encourage them to act on behalf of the public interest. Despite the plethora of research, there has been no systematic study on how gender interacts with PSM, or how it may antecede the values that comprise PSM and its underlying motives. This essay adds to the research on PSM by examining the interaction between social origins, particularly gender, and motivations to pursue public service values. It offers a number of propositions suggesting that genetics as well as contextual or environmental factors result in sex-differentiated values that serve as antecedents to PSM. A good deal of research has been conducted in the area of public service motivation (PSM) over the past several decades. PSM maintains that people are predisposed to values or motives that encourage them to act on behalf of the public interest. Despite the plethora of research, there has been no systematic study on how gender interacts with PSM, or how it may antecede the values that comprise PSM and its underlying motives. Yet, a growing body of research by evolutionary psychologists, sociologists, and biologists points to sex-specific values such as nurturing and caring that are both innate and learned. That is, there are differences between women and men in cognitive functioning, which inevitably must include biological (genic) and social and cultural factors (social construction). This leads to the important question, “What is the significance of sex-specific values for the norm- and affective-based motives that underlie PSM?” This essay adds to the research on PSM by examining the interaction between social origins, particularly gender, and motivations to pursue public service values. By paying particular attention to the biological, social, and psychological aspects of gender and their effects on values, it extends Perry’s PSM model (see Perry 1996, 1997) to account for the antecedents and correlates of gender as a predictor of PSM. Previous research on antecedents of PSM have not accounted for gender. Moreover, to the extent gender has been considered in prior research, it has generally been treated as a control variable. This article offers a number of propositions suggesting that genetics as well as contextual or environmental factors result in sex-differentiated values that serve as antecedents to PSM. PSM THEORY A number of studies have extensively reviewed the PSM literature (see, e.g., Brewer, Ritz, and Vandenabeele 2012; Perry, Hondeghem, and Wise 2010; Perry and Vandenabeele 2015). Ritz, Brewer, and Neumann (2016), for example, provide a comprehensive, critical review of the widespread body of research on PSM. So, too, do Bozeman and Su (2014). My purpose here is not to duplicate these reviews, but rather to provide a brief examination of the major contributions and to highlight the research that can inform the current discourse. It was Perry and Wise (1990, 386) who first defined the PSM construct as “an individual’s predisposition to respond to motives grounded primarily or uniquely in public institutions and organizations.” Perry then further developed the theory in a number of important ways, including the development of a scale to measure the factors that promote PSM. These factors, he theorized, comprised six dimensions of PSM: attraction to policy making, commitment to the public interest, civic duty, social justice, compassion, and self-sacrifice (Perry 1996). Each fell into one of three distinct categories of social motives as identified by Perry and Wise (1990).1 One is rational where individuals seek utility maximization; here, there is a rational calculation of self-interest. But, as Perry points out, a rational motive also draws individuals into public service as a means to engaging in public policy making. Norm-based motives refer to conduct that is instilled by socialized values of principled behavior. And, affective motives are grounded in emotions and attachments to others. Perry then goes on to assign each of the six dimensions of PSM to the three motives: rational motives are associated with attraction to policy making; normative with commitment to public interest, civic duty, and social justice; and affective is linked to compassion and self-sacrifice. It was the first empirical test of PSM (see Rainey 1982), and it provided a seminal scale for studying PSM.2 Perry’s research greatly advanced PSM theory, with several additional studies examining other important aspects of PSM (see, e.g., Brewer and Selden 1998; Brewer, Selden, and Facer 2000; DeHart-Davis, Marlowe, and Pandey 2006; Moynihan and Pandey 2007; Perry 2000), as well as different approaches to conceptualizing and measuring PSM (see Bozeman and Su 2014; Perry, Hondeghem, and Wise 2010). For example, Perry’s (1997) study identified potential antecedents to PSM, where he focused on norm- and affective-based motives (also see Camilleri 2007). He identified parental socialization as providing an affective relationship between children and their parents. Altruism in parents serves as a model for children who then exhibit higher levels of altruism as adults. Socialization by parents, Perry concludes, is aligned with compassion and self-sacrifice. Perry also identified religious socialization as a potential norm-based motive for PSM. In particular, if individuals are socialized to attend church, participate in church functions, and overall perceive religion “in terms of problems shared by people and their relationships with one another,” they are more likely to exhibit such PSM values or characteristics as commitment to public interest, civic duty, and compassion (Perry 1997, 184). Political ideology was also determined to be a potential antecedent to PSM. This is another socialized value as parents tend to pass down their political beliefs to their children.3 To be sure, the media and education also contribute to political values. These, too, are norm-based. Specifically, Perry hypothesized that liberalism produces higher levels of PSM. Finally, Perry also hypothesized that professional identity affects one’s level of PSM. Also norm-based, it implies ethical and moral responsibilities. He argues that “Professions historically have been a repository for public service values. The professions of medicine, law, and the clergy advanced such social norms as caring, social justice, and the common good” (1997, 185). Perry does not catalogue attraction to policy making, although he includes it as a variable in his model. He initially classified policy making as a rational value. Perry finds that childhood experiences with, in part, parents and religion, affect PSM. So to, does professional identity, which was positively associated with civic duty and self-sacrifice, but negatively related to attraction to policy making. Liberal as a measure of political ideology variable was positively associated with the PSM dimension of attraction to policy making. Interestingly, Perry (1997) included gender as a demographic variable for control purposes, but made no predictions as to its potential effects. He focused more on education, age, and income as predictors of PSM. Interestingly, contrary to what one might expect, he found that men had a stronger PSM along the dimensions of civic duty and self-sacrifice. In contrast, Moynihan and Pandey (2007) also included gender as a control variable in their study examining the role of organization in PSM and found that women were more attracted to policy making as compared with men. Most recently, van Witteloostuijn, Esteve, and Boyne (2017) examined personality traits as antecedents of PSM. But, they do not consider that personality traits develop differently for women and men based on socialization. They rely on predefined personality traits based on a six-dimensional personality trait model known as HEXACO (Ashton and Lee 2001, 2007; Lee and Ashton 2004). The six dimensions include Honesty-Humility, Emotionality, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness to Experience. Their study does not consider the important antecedent of gender and its interaction with socialization. Yet, as will be discussed more fully later, personality is a function of socialization and gender. Despite the immense amount of research on PSM, there are no studies that focus on gender as a potential antecedent to PSM. Crewson (1997) sought to examine the implications of the public service for representative bureaucracy, but he did not fully test this hypothesis. Moreover, he looks at representativeness not based on demographics such as gender, but on other factors such as liberalism and commonness or ordinariness. This is more in line with how Kingsley (1944) conceptualized representativeness. There have been other studies that examined gender differences with respect to PSM, but gender was not the primary variable, nor was it treated in any comprehensive fashion. For example, in addition to Perry’s (1997) study mentioned earlier, Bright (2005) examined the relationship between a number of personal characteristics such as gender and PSM and found that women exhibited higher levels of PSM than men. He suggests that his findings reflect differences in socialization patterns, where women are socialized into caretaking roles. And, as he points out, “Although these role expectations are gradually changing and evolving, they are still present and strongly rooted in many domains” (Bright 2005, 146). However, it is important to note that because men were undersampled in Bright’s study, the findings, even by the author’s own admission are inconclusive. The study by DeHart-Davis, Marlowe, and Pandey (2006) is perhaps most relevant to the current study as they provide a detailed explanation for how gender intersects with PSM. They theorized that compassion represents a “feminine” dimension of PSM. They argue that “public service motivation is one area of public administration discourse that contains both culturally feminine and culturally masculine imagery” (DeHart-Davis, Marlowe, and Pandey 2006, 873). Their significant study, however, did not explore the underpinnings of biological or genetic factors along with environmental forces that antecede the values which may predict prosocial behaviors. ANTECEDENTS OF PSM As discussed, Perry and others examined a number of potential antecedents to PSM, but they in large part overlooked gender. In addition, the research on PSM has largely ignored genetic and environmental factors that could influence one’s level of PSM. Figure 1 illustrates a conceptual model of the significance of social antecedents to Perry’s model. In this essay, the case of gender is examined. More specifically, the article considers both sex, or biological traits whereby persons are designated as either male or female, and gender whereby social and cultural norms create “gender roles,” which are deemed appropriate for a person based on their sex. In this sense, there are differences between men and women that are both biologically based and culturally or societally based.4 Examining the impact of gender on PSM is important and as noted, there are some studies that do just that. We do want to know, for example, whether the differences are meaningful. However, it is also important to examine what potentially “causes” those differences in the first place. The argument here is that gender is a critical antecedent to PSM. This in turn has important implications for the study of PSM and ultimately the root causes of factors that help explain PSM. In short, men are different from women. This has been the topic of study in a host of fields; and we are able to verify this by, for example, looking at the occupations that are dominated by women as compared to men, and the differences in earnings. The current study, however, addresses the differences between women and men in cognitive functioning, which inevitably must include biological (genic) and social and cultural factors (social construction). Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Gender Antecedents to PSM Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Gender Antecedents to PSM The following sections seek to explore how gender might correlate with the three motives identified and examined by Perry and others: normative (i.e., commitment to public interest, civic duty, social justice); affective (i.e., compassion; self-sacrifice); and rational (i.e., attraction to policy making; see Brewer, Selden, and Facer 2000; Perry 1996, 1997). Predictors of Values: Nature and Nurture Biological theories have long been relied on to explain sex-differentiated behaviors or values. For example, men tend to be more aggressive than women, and there is a biological component to this: males have larger quantities of testosterone (Batrinos 2012; Wilder 1997). Regrettably, however, biological theories have also been historically relied upon to subjugate and discriminate against women (Halpern 2012; Lippa 2014; Maccoby and Jacklin 1974). That is to say, early studies—albeit with serious methodological flaws—were employed to conclude that men were more intelligent than women (Dykiert, Gale, and Deary 2009; Halpern 2012; Hunt and Madhyastha 2008). Some of these early studies merely compared brain mass and volume to conclude that women were intellectually inferior to men. Indeed, this is the primary reason that many feminist scholars insist that there are no “natural” differences between men and women, but rather that contextual variables (e.g., sex discrimination, sex role socialization) are the primary reasons for sex differences (see Bryson 1992; Phillips 2004). Moreover, the findings of existing studies tend to be misused in order to advance political agendas that are detrimental to women. It is common, for example, for conservatives and liberals as well to claim that biological differences make women poorly suited for certain jobs, especially in the STEM fields. It may be recalled that Harvard President Lawrence Summers was harshly reproached for his statement that women were underrepresented as scientists at elite universities because of “innate” differences between women and men. Nonetheless, advances to neuroscience have affected the way we think about cognitive sex differences. Halpern (2012, xi), for example, points out that “Perhaps one of the greatest contributions from the biological revolution is that we can now see changes in the brain that result from experience. In a strange twist, modern biological techniques have advanced our understanding of the importance of environmental variables.” Controversial as it may be, there is some evidence pointing to biological reasons for certain sex-differentiated behaviors and values. Psychologists have long addressed origin theories of sex differences between women and men and their implications ultimately for sex roles and behavioral differences between the sexes. Evolutionary psychologists, for example, have produced a critical body of research pointing to the biological causes of sex-differentiated values or behaviors (see Buss 1995; Kenrick and Keefe 1992; Maccoby and Jacklin 1974; Tooby and Cosmides 1992; Wilder 1997). This research shows that men and women possess “sex-specific evolved mechanisms” that produce sex-specific values or traits (Eagly and Wood 1999, 408; Wood and Eagly 2002). As Halpern (2012, 161) points out “biology may underlie some tendencies or make certain experiences more probable,” indicating that biology in part can shape our abilities. Eliot (2009) elaborates by pointing out that “Sex differences in empathy emerge in infancy and persist throughout development, though the gap between adult women and men is larger than between girls and boys. The early appearance of any sex difference suggests it is innately programmed—selected for through evolution and fixed into our behavioral development through either prenatal hormone exposure or early gene expression differences.” Biological explanations for gender differences in cognitive functioning have been linked to differences in chromosomal makeup, the functioning of the brain (in terms of the two hemispheres), and sex hormones secreted by the endocrine glands. Chromosomes are responsible for the emission of sex hormones, which in turn affect brain development as well as the development of reproductive organs. These biological factors then contribute to cognitive sex differences. Costa, Terracciano, and McCrae (2001, 323) suggest that “the sexes will differ in domains in which they have faced different adaptive problems throughout evolutionary history. For example, for biological reasons, including pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation, women have more invested than men do in relations with children.” That is to say, women have higher levels of the hormone oxytocin, produced during labor and lactation, which elicits bonding and nurturing behaviors. Members of each sex, then, evolve preference or value systems that are generally unique to each. As such, women may be genetically predisposed to exhibit certain affective motives (e.g., compassion, self-sacrifice, caring). Thus, genetics has important implications for PSM. Proposition 1: Women, based on genetics, will be more inclined than men to exhibit the PSM values of nurturing and caring. It has been well established that there are biological differences between women and men. And certainly biology creates potential as well as limitations on the abilities and behaviors of both women and men. But, it is the environmental factors which influence how and the extent to which women and men develop and engage those abilities. Social psychologists maintain that contextual or environmental and cultural pressures produce sex-differentiated values and ultimately behaviors; that we essentially adjust to our sex roles due to socialization (see, e.g., Pandey, DeHart-Davis, and Pandey 2017; Ridgeway 2001; Wilder 1997). Moreover, personality traits, while affected by genes, develop differently for women and men based on socialization.5 Thus, the manner in which girls and boys are socialized creates both restrictions and opportunities for adult women and men. For example, to the extent women are socialized into “female” jobs they are socialized out of job opportunities that avail themselves to men. Research on sex-stereotyping in the 1960s focused, for example, on adults conceptions of male and female characteristics. Consistently, the traits ascribed to men included competitiveness and independence. Women, on the other hand, were seen as more gentle, caring, and emotional (see Rosenkrantz et al. 1968; Wilder 1997). Comparable results were achieved in studies in the 1970s and 1980s, notwithstanding feminist activism in the 1970s (Deaux and Lewis 1984; Ruble 1983). In more recent research on the gendered aspects of public employee behavior, Nielsen (2015) points to the micro- and macrosociological literature, which illustrates that behavioral differences between men and women are found in society’s structural and institutional foundations. She notes that “Children acquire cultural norms and habits through, for example, mass media, school, adults’ division of work, and hence also norms about appropriate gender behavior. The socialization process continues throughout adulthood, where family, friends, managers, and colleagues build up expectations and define norms of behavior through their behavior and ways of talking…. Girls and women are commonly expected, socialized, and verbalized to be more empathic, less competitive, and poorer at systemizing than boys and men” (Nielsen 2015, 1009). Nielsen concludes that men tend to prefer competitive roles, whereas women prefer roles that express empathy and caring (also see Gilligan 1982).6 Proposition 2: Women are socialized more than men to express the PSM values of empathy, caring and compassion. To the extent women are socialized to be less competitive, they are also more likely to work cooperatively and harmoniously (see, e.g., Eagly and Johannesen-Schmidt 2001; Pandey, DeHart-Davis, and Pandey 2017). As Zelezny, Chua, and Aldrich (2000, 445) argue, “Females across cultures are socialized to be more expressive, to have a stronger ‘ethic of care,’ and to be more interdependent, compassionate, nurturing, cooperative and helpful in caregiving…On the other hand, males are socialized to be more independent and competitive.” Moreover, women, because of disadvantages due to discrimination, social exclusion, or marginalization, are perhaps more motivated to work to correct these inequities and injustices. They are more willing to work on gender initiatives than men, and social structural theorists have found that women also hold more egalitarian attitudes as compared with men (Katz-Wise, Priess, and Hyde 2010; Mendelberg and Karpowitz 2016; Ridgeway 2001; Twenge 1997). In effect, women are more likely to demonstrate affective and norm-based motives, and this may be the case especially for women of color, based on family and cultural upbringing (Breslin, Pandey, and Riccucci 2017; Hamidullah and Riccucci 2017).7 Proposition 3: Women more than men are socialized to promote the prosocial values of fairness and equalitarianism. Rainey and Steinbauer (1999, 23) point out that altruism is a fundamental value of PSM, in that it connotes self-sacrifice and an inherent desire to serve the interests of “a community people” at the expense of such extrinsic rewards as money. Similarly, Chou (1998, 195) pointed out that altruism is the “voluntary, intentional behavior that benefits another and that is not motivated by the expectation of external rewards or avoidance of externally produced punishments.” Altruism suggests a sense of civic duty to the extent individuals are willing to serve communities and assume responsibility for serving others. While civic duty has generally been studied within the context of voting behavior or voter turnout,8 some have defined it more broadly in the context of community engagement. Loewen and Dawes (2012, 364), for example, define civic duty as the motivation to “undertake actions that benefit others.” In this broader sense, civic duty, like altruism, suggests a responsibility to help and promote the well-being of others in the community. Researchers studying prosocial behavior have long been interested in understanding sex-differentiated behaviors such as altruism (see Eisenberg, Fabes, and Spinrad 2006). Several studies show that women compared to men tend to place more value on altruism (Elindera and Erixsona 2012; Piliavin and Charng 1990; Smith 2003). Seefeldt (2008, 1), for example, points out that “this difference could be due to the differences in socialization of men and women. Women are socialized to have concern for others and to take care of one another, while men are mainly socialized to be in competition with each other.” Thus, altruistic behavior may be affected by role expectations as well as the nature of social situations (see Jeffries et al. 2006). In this sense, men may perform altruistic acts, but they are performed during situations where men are expected to act heroically (Elindera and Erixsona 2012). Seefeldt (2008) states that men will exhibit altruistic behaviors particularly in emergency situations that involve independent, self-oriented behaviors and require a high degree of risk. Research on gender stereotypes suggests that men tend to be seen as “heroes,” but this is a less accepted ideal for women (Eagly and Crowley 1986). On the other hand, situations that call for more interpersonal behaviors and are associated with concern for others may be associated more with women (Spence and Helmreich 1980). Women are expected to serve others, caring for their personal and emotional needs before their own. Proposition 4: Women more than men are socialized to exhibit the prosocial values of self-sacrifice, altruism and civic duty. There are also physical differences (e.g., men tend to be greater in size) which also affect role assignment and sexual divisions of labor: women to women’s jobs, men to men’s jobs, with contextual variables (e.g., discrimination) that also predict job assignments and pay. Women, for example, are not socialized into conceptualizing firefighting as a career option and in fact, women comprise only 5.7% of firefighting jobs in the United States (US Bureau of Labor Statistics [US BLS] 2015). Importantly, however, although women may lack the physical size requirements conceived by society to do the job effectively, they can be trained to perform the job duties of firefighting; yet, they are often blocked from entering this profession because various social and cultural factors (e.g., discrimination and society’s belief that firefighting is “men’s work”) operate against them (Riccucci 2002).9 Eagly and Wood (1999, 409) argue that “Evolutionary psychology views sex-specific evolved dispositions as psychological tendencies that were built in through genetically mediated adaptation to primeval conditions; the theory treats contemporary environmental factors as cues that interact with adaptations to yield sex-typed responses.” If this is the case, evolved sex-differentiated tendencies in addition to socialized, environmental dispositions can have the effect of inducing women to support or help other women. Women choose, but may also be directed into jobs where they help or care for women. Khunou, Pillay, and Nethononda (2012) suggest that caring professions such as nursing, teaching, and social work are generally viewed as women’s jobs and women have a propensity to choose these jobs due to socialization. In effect, they disproportionately hold higher percentages of these jobs. For example, women comprise 90% of registered nurses, 81% of elementary and middle school teachers, and 81.9% of social workers in this nation (US BLS 2015). Interestingly, even in jobs they dominate, they are often paid less than their male counterparts. A recent study showed that registered female nurses earn around $5,000 less a year than male nurses, which translates into roughly $150,000 over a lifetime (see Alkadry and Tower 2006; Guy and Newman 2004; Muench et al. 2015). Societal stereotypes around gender can also influence the career aspirations of women and men. For example, as Bian, Leslie, and Cimpian (2017, 389) point out, “the stereotype that men are better than women at mathematics impairs women’s performance in this domain and undermines their interest in mathematics-intensive fields.” Their review of several studies involving 400 children shows that by age 6, girls are less likely than boys to believe that girls are “really, really smart” and further that these girls avoid activities that are for “really, really smart” children. The studies point to gendered notions of being smart or intelligent and can ultimately affect the career choices of young women. Similarly, studies on emotional labor also suggest that jobs that require affective skills such as compassion, nurturing, and caring are held disproportionately by women (Guy and Newman 2004; Mastracci, Guy, and Newman 2014). Meier, Mastracci, and Wilson (2006, 899) point out that “Emotional labor consists of personal interactions—separate from actual job descriptions—among employees and between employees and clientele that facilitate the effective and smooth operation of the organization.” These jobs are also undervalued, and hence underpaid. According to Guy and Newman (2004, 291) “Women’s jobs are different from men’s. Why? We maintain that emotional labor offers the explanation. Close to three-fourths of all paraprofessionals are women and almost 90 percent of support jobs are held by women. Although these jobs require skills comparable to those required of craft workers (95 percent of whom are male), they are compensated at lower rates.” They go on to say that “It is true that women are overrepresented in relational jobs and underrepresented in scientific and technical jobs. There is a monetary penalty not only for being female, but also for holding a job that involves caring and nurturing” (Guy and Newman 2004, 292). Importantly, both men and women engage in emotional labor, but the expectation of what is required of them differs. In other words, the expectation is gendered. Meier, Mastracci, and Wilson (2006) empirically examine the effects of emotional labor on organizational performance. Importantly, their study assumes that emotional labor does exist and, with good reason, that women are its main providers. They point out that emotional labor is not gender specific, but studies illustrate that women offer more emotional labor than men. Moreover, women are expected to do so. Consistent with their propositions, they find that organizations with higher degrees of emotional labor will produce positive interactions with clients and employees within the organization and, in general, will be more effective than organizations without high levels of emotional labor. It may be the case, then that women self-select into jobs aimed at helping other women; they may choose, for example, to work in areas of domestic violence or battered women’s shelters. Proposition 5: Women compared to men are socialized into jobs that require the prosocial value of emotional labor. With respect to origin theory, however, nature and nurture are not dichotomous but rather are interactive. That is to say, genetically and biologically mediated gender differences interact with cultural and social mechanisms to influence values and ultimately sex role behavior. Women, for example, can bear children, while men cannot. Recent research suggests that pregnancy changes the size and structure of those areas of women’s brains which are linked to the feelings and perceptions of others (Hoekzema et al. 2016). Neurological research further indicates that, in general, there are significant differences in the brain processes of men and women, whereby women possess greater levels of empathy and men are better at systemizing, or exploring and constructing systems (Baron-Cohen 2003; Nielsen 2015; Pinker 2008). Proposition 6: Women compared to men are more likely to express the PSM values of empathy, caring and nurturing due to the interactive effects of biological and social mechanisms. Personality Traits and Gender As noted, van Witteloostuijn, Esteve, and Boyne (2017) examine personality traits as potential antecedents of PSM. However, they rely on Ashton and Lee’s (2001,,2007) HEXACO model of personality traits without considering how gender interacts with environmental factors to form personality traits. But, as noted previously, the field of behavioral genetics suggests that an interactive effect between genetics and the environment leads to the development of personality traits that are different for women compared to men. Saudino (2005, 214) points out that “temperament refers to individual differences in behavioral tendencies that have a constitutional basis. Soon after birth, children show a great deal of variation in those behavioral dimensions considered to be temperamental (e.g., emotionality, activity level, attention/persistence, sociability, reactivity, etc.). For example, some children cry easily and intensely whereas others are more easy going; some are highly active and always on the go where others are more sedentary; some attend and persist in tasks for long periods of time where others’ attention wanders quickly.” After birth, maturation and environmental factors (i.e., the manner in which we are socialized by family, education, peer groups) interact with a child’s temperament to then help form personality traits (see Carter et al. 2003). Such traits include, for example, empathy, compassion, independence, cooperativeness, and caring. These traits, as noted above, are linked to gender, exactly because of the socialization or environmental forces that interact with genetic factors (also see, e.g., Thomas and Chess 1977; Thomas et al. 1963). A number of empirical studies have demonstrated these sex-related differences in personality (see, e.g., Costa, Terracciano, and McCrae 2001; Feingold 1994; Maccoby and Jacklin 1974). Women tend to demonstrate such personality traits as agreeableness, warmth, nurturance, and openness to feelings, whereas men are higher in assertiveness, individualism, dominance, and openness to ideas. Proposition 7: Women compared to men exhibit personality traits that are conducive to PSM values. In sum, social origins—biological and genetic factors—in concert with a number of contextual factors produce different value sets for women as compared with men. For women, the values revolve around compassion, empathy, self-sacrifice, and helping and caring for others, which comprise normative and affective motives. For men, it is exploring and building systems. But, women may be drawn to public service for rational reasons as well, in the sense that it fulfills their self-interested need of serving others. It may be that rational motives interact with norm and affective motives to the extent that women’s PSM stems from their own needs to serve others. As Ritz, Brewer, and Neumann (2016, 423) point out, “people often misconstrue public service motivation as a purely altruistic concept. What they fail to account for is that individuals often perform meaningful public service for rational, self-interested, or instrumental reasons….. Indeed, self-interest can be a good thing when it is aligned with the public interest. Self-serving motives are an important part of public service, and they play an important role in an institutional environment characterized by competing policy interests and bureaucratic politics” (c.f. Brennan and Buchanan 1985). Attraction to Policy Making As discussed earlier, rational motives are linked to utility maximization and self-interest. And, in fact, Perry (1996) construed attraction to policy making as a rational motive. Ritz (2011, 1128) notes that “The image of humankind as ‘homo oeconomicus’ as put forward by the rational choice theory in the 1960s set the stage for an image of public administration and employees in that sector that dominated discussion for many years. According to this image, people behave rationally and based on self-interest” (Ritz 2011, 1128). He goes on to say that “Rational motives are based on a calculative, intellectual assessment of situations and consequent actions” (Ritz 2011, 1130). But these values are ostensibly antithetical to the values and behaviors discussed above, which indicate that women are more likely than men to be compassionate, engaging in self-sacrificing behavior. It may be that women in order to fulfill personal needs may be attracted to policy making in order to help others; that is, they do not view involvement in policy making as a personal gain, but rather as the ability to serve broad as well as narrow social interests (e.g., women in need). In this sense, the rational, self-interested desire to help others suggests a desire to bring positive change to the lives of people they serve more broadly through policy making. Policy making is after all an effort to positively influence the lives of others. Perry and Wise (1990, 368) point out that “Individuals may be drawn to government or pursue particular courses of action within government because of their belief that their choices will facilitate the interests of special groups. One of the arguments frequently found in the literature on representative bureaucracy is that a widely representative bureaucracy facilitates inclusion of a range of policy perspectives in a society. Such an argument assumes that one motive prevalent in pluralistic societies is an individual’s conscious or unconscious advocacy for special interests.” In addition, the concept of “public service” inherently suggests support for others. As Bright (2005, 146) observes, “Public service occupations represent those work roles in governmental bodies that are largely associated with the act of providing direct services and benefits to society. One can argue that many public service occupations are more congruent with the assumptions of support and caretaking,” roles that are consistent with the values of women. Proposition 8: Women are attracted to policy making to fulfill a rational motive to serve the needs and interests of others, particularly other women. Obviously, men, too, will be drawn to policy making, but their interests may be more in line with the more conventional view of rational motives: utility maximization and self-interest. Perry and Wise (1990, 368) point out that “participation in the process of policy formulation can be exciting, dramatic, and reinforcing of an individual’s image of self importance.” Ritz (2011, 1130) goes even further to argue that along the lines of Niskanen’s (1971) economic perspective of self-interested behavior, “Boosting self-esteem and exerting a targeted influence on the formulation of a policy for personal gain can be seen as rational motives which serve as selective incentives for public employees and these incentives motivate them more than other situations assessed by them.” In accordance with the discussion above on sex-differentiated behaviors and values, where men tend to act in more self-interested, competitive ways, rational motives can also be ascribed to men in terms of their attraction to policy making. Research indicates that men tend to prefer competitive situations, in particular jobs that are competitive in nature (Nielsen 2015). Proposition 9: Men are attracted to policy making to fulfill a rational motive to promote their own self-esteem and self-interest. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION This discussion of the biological, social, and psychological aspects of gender and their effects on values hopefully contributes and extends the theory of PSM. Genetic, biological, and socialization—or nurture and nature—factors help to understand the social motives underpinning PSM. The conceptual model presented in figure 1 points to the importance of social antecedents to PSM. While the case of gender was examined in this essay, certainly other aspects of social origins such as the intersection of gender, race, and ethnicity among others could also reveal critical antecedents to PSM. The ultimate aim, to be sure, is to identify factors that contribute to individuals’ motives and desires to pursue careers in the public service. This after all is a key concern for researchers in the fields of public management and administration. When Perry and Wise first advanced the concept of PSM, they addressed it in the context of a decline in public confidence in government and efforts to instill public service values in the American people; these concerns exist even today. They argued that “Calls for a recommitment of Americans to values associated with government service, among them personal sacrifice and duty to the public interest, raise practical questions about the power of these values to stimulate and direct human behavior. At their core, calls for a renewal of public service motivation assume the importance of such motivations for an effective and efficient public service. Those who advocate using public service motivation as the primary steering mechanism for bureaucratic behavior perceive that it is essential for achieving high levels of performance” (Perry and Wise 1990, 367). This essay creates opportunities for future research. For example, the propositions related to gender antecedents to PSM lend themselves to empirical testing. Are women compared to men predisposed to PSM values due to genetic, biological, and social factors? Are women attracted to policy making in order to fulfill a rational motive to serve the needs and interests of others? For men, does the rational motive derive from efforts to promote their own self-interest and self-esteem? These are but a few questions that could be pursued in efforts to understand how gender antecedes PSM. Future research may also go beyond Crewson’s (1997), discussed earlier, to empirically examine the implications of the PSM for representative bureaucracy. If gender is an antecedent to PSM, is there a linkage ultimately to the public servant’s organizational behavior and policy preferences? Are women predisposed to work for and pursue the interests of women in the general population? Recall that Perry and Wise (1990) raised this question, drawing attention to the potential that PSM is an intervening or mediating factor in representative bureaucracies. The question then is: Do genetics as well as contextual or environmental factors influence values that serve as antecedents to PSM, which then produce policy preferences and ultimately policy outcomes that benefit certain segments of the population, in the current case, women? Interestingly enough, the well-established theories of representative bureaucracy and PSM appear inextricably linked, yet a conceptual framework connecting the two has not been developed in any systematic manner. The model presented in figure 1 serves as a framework for future research, which could facilitate the refinement of the conceptual domain of PSM. Certainly, the testability of some of these propositions will be challenging, particularly those that address biological, genetic, and psychological factors. Proposition 6, for example, may be the most challenging to empirically test, because it calls for measuring the interactive effects of biological factors (genic) and social and cultural factors (social construction). But researchers in psychology, social psychology, and genetic development have been advancing studies that test hypotheses of measured gene-environment interaction, especially when examining human illness and disease. For example, obesity, which is tied to genetics, has been linked to such environmental factors as the location of fast-food restaurants and the “super-sizing” of commercial foods. The point here is that studies on gene-environment interactions, once thought to be rare, have been emerging in a host of fields (see, e.g., Moffitt, Caspi, and Rutter 2005, 2006). Also, as presented here, there are biological differences between women and men. Whether these differences are related to differences in the cognitive functioning of men and women, however, remains an empirical question. As a field, we are challenged to think outside the disciplinary and methodological boxes, going beyond our reliance on conventional research methods such as surveys, interviews, and observation. Many have called for greater interdisciplinary work in public management in order to further push the boundaries of the field. Wright (2011), for example, points out that as an interdisciplinary field, public administration and management have done a poor job of borrowing from other disciplines (also see Wright, Manigault, and Black 2004). He particularly points to “mainstream management scholars” failure to look beyond our own field in conducting scholarly research. Granted, other disciplines have largely ignored research in our field, but public management can shift paradigmatically by looking to research in not simply the social sciences but the natural and physical sciences as well. As Gaughan and Bozeman (2016) suggest, the field can benefit from greater collaboration between and among individuals, institutions, and disciplines. Dickens and Ormrod (2007, 41) call for an ontology that “explains how insights from both the social and physical sciences can be combined.” They argue that the “ideal of science is of an objective discipline that is value-free and guided by its own criteria of progress.” In this sense, they state, the “social influences on the theories and methods of science” should not be ignored (also see Fenstad 1995). Again it should be stressed that there continues to be controversy around gender as a function of biology. 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For example, some research shows that women are more likely to support the interests of women in the workplace and children (Seltzer, Newman, and Leighton 1997) and are also more favorable toward equal rights for women (Twenge 1997). In general, they are more supportive of social welfare issues (Everitt 2002). 4 Others might argue that the differences in behavior between men and women are based either on universal biological factors or social conventions only. 5 There is a good deal of research on the heritability of personality disorders. Bouchard (2004) points out, for example, that schizophrenia is the most extensively studied psychiatric illness, and the findings consistently suggest an extremely high degree of genetic influence. However, research has further found that are no sex differences in heritability. 6 A plethora of studies suggest that competition and empathy and caring cannot coexist. On the other hand, some research suggests that it is possible. See, for example, Barnett, Matthews, and Howard (1979) and Kohn (1993). 7 This article examines gender as a potential antecedent to PSM, but other characteristics that intersect with gender, such as race and ethnicity, might also prove significant and, thus, could be considered in future research. 8 In the context of the duty of citizens to vote, Blais (2000) found that women have a stronger sense of civic duty. Indeed, the League of Women Voters was founded on the principle that it is not only women’s’ right to vote, but a responsibility as well. 9 It should further be noted that the case law has not clearly determined whether these fitness tests are bona fide occupational qualifications (BFOQs) for the uniformed services. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Public Management Research Association. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Perspectives on Public Management and Governance Oxford University Press

Antecedents of Public Service Motivation: The Role of Gender

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Abstract

Abstract A good deal of research has been conducted in the area of public service motivation (PSM) over the past several decades. PSM maintains that people are predisposed to values or motives that encourage them to act on behalf of the public interest. Despite the plethora of research, there has been no systematic study on how gender interacts with PSM, or how it may antecede the values that comprise PSM and its underlying motives. This essay adds to the research on PSM by examining the interaction between social origins, particularly gender, and motivations to pursue public service values. It offers a number of propositions suggesting that genetics as well as contextual or environmental factors result in sex-differentiated values that serve as antecedents to PSM. A good deal of research has been conducted in the area of public service motivation (PSM) over the past several decades. PSM maintains that people are predisposed to values or motives that encourage them to act on behalf of the public interest. Despite the plethora of research, there has been no systematic study on how gender interacts with PSM, or how it may antecede the values that comprise PSM and its underlying motives. Yet, a growing body of research by evolutionary psychologists, sociologists, and biologists points to sex-specific values such as nurturing and caring that are both innate and learned. That is, there are differences between women and men in cognitive functioning, which inevitably must include biological (genic) and social and cultural factors (social construction). This leads to the important question, “What is the significance of sex-specific values for the norm- and affective-based motives that underlie PSM?” This essay adds to the research on PSM by examining the interaction between social origins, particularly gender, and motivations to pursue public service values. By paying particular attention to the biological, social, and psychological aspects of gender and their effects on values, it extends Perry’s PSM model (see Perry 1996, 1997) to account for the antecedents and correlates of gender as a predictor of PSM. Previous research on antecedents of PSM have not accounted for gender. Moreover, to the extent gender has been considered in prior research, it has generally been treated as a control variable. This article offers a number of propositions suggesting that genetics as well as contextual or environmental factors result in sex-differentiated values that serve as antecedents to PSM. PSM THEORY A number of studies have extensively reviewed the PSM literature (see, e.g., Brewer, Ritz, and Vandenabeele 2012; Perry, Hondeghem, and Wise 2010; Perry and Vandenabeele 2015). Ritz, Brewer, and Neumann (2016), for example, provide a comprehensive, critical review of the widespread body of research on PSM. So, too, do Bozeman and Su (2014). My purpose here is not to duplicate these reviews, but rather to provide a brief examination of the major contributions and to highlight the research that can inform the current discourse. It was Perry and Wise (1990, 386) who first defined the PSM construct as “an individual’s predisposition to respond to motives grounded primarily or uniquely in public institutions and organizations.” Perry then further developed the theory in a number of important ways, including the development of a scale to measure the factors that promote PSM. These factors, he theorized, comprised six dimensions of PSM: attraction to policy making, commitment to the public interest, civic duty, social justice, compassion, and self-sacrifice (Perry 1996). Each fell into one of three distinct categories of social motives as identified by Perry and Wise (1990).1 One is rational where individuals seek utility maximization; here, there is a rational calculation of self-interest. But, as Perry points out, a rational motive also draws individuals into public service as a means to engaging in public policy making. Norm-based motives refer to conduct that is instilled by socialized values of principled behavior. And, affective motives are grounded in emotions and attachments to others. Perry then goes on to assign each of the six dimensions of PSM to the three motives: rational motives are associated with attraction to policy making; normative with commitment to public interest, civic duty, and social justice; and affective is linked to compassion and self-sacrifice. It was the first empirical test of PSM (see Rainey 1982), and it provided a seminal scale for studying PSM.2 Perry’s research greatly advanced PSM theory, with several additional studies examining other important aspects of PSM (see, e.g., Brewer and Selden 1998; Brewer, Selden, and Facer 2000; DeHart-Davis, Marlowe, and Pandey 2006; Moynihan and Pandey 2007; Perry 2000), as well as different approaches to conceptualizing and measuring PSM (see Bozeman and Su 2014; Perry, Hondeghem, and Wise 2010). For example, Perry’s (1997) study identified potential antecedents to PSM, where he focused on norm- and affective-based motives (also see Camilleri 2007). He identified parental socialization as providing an affective relationship between children and their parents. Altruism in parents serves as a model for children who then exhibit higher levels of altruism as adults. Socialization by parents, Perry concludes, is aligned with compassion and self-sacrifice. Perry also identified religious socialization as a potential norm-based motive for PSM. In particular, if individuals are socialized to attend church, participate in church functions, and overall perceive religion “in terms of problems shared by people and their relationships with one another,” they are more likely to exhibit such PSM values or characteristics as commitment to public interest, civic duty, and compassion (Perry 1997, 184). Political ideology was also determined to be a potential antecedent to PSM. This is another socialized value as parents tend to pass down their political beliefs to their children.3 To be sure, the media and education also contribute to political values. These, too, are norm-based. Specifically, Perry hypothesized that liberalism produces higher levels of PSM. Finally, Perry also hypothesized that professional identity affects one’s level of PSM. Also norm-based, it implies ethical and moral responsibilities. He argues that “Professions historically have been a repository for public service values. The professions of medicine, law, and the clergy advanced such social norms as caring, social justice, and the common good” (1997, 185). Perry does not catalogue attraction to policy making, although he includes it as a variable in his model. He initially classified policy making as a rational value. Perry finds that childhood experiences with, in part, parents and religion, affect PSM. So to, does professional identity, which was positively associated with civic duty and self-sacrifice, but negatively related to attraction to policy making. Liberal as a measure of political ideology variable was positively associated with the PSM dimension of attraction to policy making. Interestingly, Perry (1997) included gender as a demographic variable for control purposes, but made no predictions as to its potential effects. He focused more on education, age, and income as predictors of PSM. Interestingly, contrary to what one might expect, he found that men had a stronger PSM along the dimensions of civic duty and self-sacrifice. In contrast, Moynihan and Pandey (2007) also included gender as a control variable in their study examining the role of organization in PSM and found that women were more attracted to policy making as compared with men. Most recently, van Witteloostuijn, Esteve, and Boyne (2017) examined personality traits as antecedents of PSM. But, they do not consider that personality traits develop differently for women and men based on socialization. They rely on predefined personality traits based on a six-dimensional personality trait model known as HEXACO (Ashton and Lee 2001, 2007; Lee and Ashton 2004). The six dimensions include Honesty-Humility, Emotionality, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness to Experience. Their study does not consider the important antecedent of gender and its interaction with socialization. Yet, as will be discussed more fully later, personality is a function of socialization and gender. Despite the immense amount of research on PSM, there are no studies that focus on gender as a potential antecedent to PSM. Crewson (1997) sought to examine the implications of the public service for representative bureaucracy, but he did not fully test this hypothesis. Moreover, he looks at representativeness not based on demographics such as gender, but on other factors such as liberalism and commonness or ordinariness. This is more in line with how Kingsley (1944) conceptualized representativeness. There have been other studies that examined gender differences with respect to PSM, but gender was not the primary variable, nor was it treated in any comprehensive fashion. For example, in addition to Perry’s (1997) study mentioned earlier, Bright (2005) examined the relationship between a number of personal characteristics such as gender and PSM and found that women exhibited higher levels of PSM than men. He suggests that his findings reflect differences in socialization patterns, where women are socialized into caretaking roles. And, as he points out, “Although these role expectations are gradually changing and evolving, they are still present and strongly rooted in many domains” (Bright 2005, 146). However, it is important to note that because men were undersampled in Bright’s study, the findings, even by the author’s own admission are inconclusive. The study by DeHart-Davis, Marlowe, and Pandey (2006) is perhaps most relevant to the current study as they provide a detailed explanation for how gender intersects with PSM. They theorized that compassion represents a “feminine” dimension of PSM. They argue that “public service motivation is one area of public administration discourse that contains both culturally feminine and culturally masculine imagery” (DeHart-Davis, Marlowe, and Pandey 2006, 873). Their significant study, however, did not explore the underpinnings of biological or genetic factors along with environmental forces that antecede the values which may predict prosocial behaviors. ANTECEDENTS OF PSM As discussed, Perry and others examined a number of potential antecedents to PSM, but they in large part overlooked gender. In addition, the research on PSM has largely ignored genetic and environmental factors that could influence one’s level of PSM. Figure 1 illustrates a conceptual model of the significance of social antecedents to Perry’s model. In this essay, the case of gender is examined. More specifically, the article considers both sex, or biological traits whereby persons are designated as either male or female, and gender whereby social and cultural norms create “gender roles,” which are deemed appropriate for a person based on their sex. In this sense, there are differences between men and women that are both biologically based and culturally or societally based.4 Examining the impact of gender on PSM is important and as noted, there are some studies that do just that. We do want to know, for example, whether the differences are meaningful. However, it is also important to examine what potentially “causes” those differences in the first place. The argument here is that gender is a critical antecedent to PSM. This in turn has important implications for the study of PSM and ultimately the root causes of factors that help explain PSM. In short, men are different from women. This has been the topic of study in a host of fields; and we are able to verify this by, for example, looking at the occupations that are dominated by women as compared to men, and the differences in earnings. The current study, however, addresses the differences between women and men in cognitive functioning, which inevitably must include biological (genic) and social and cultural factors (social construction). Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Gender Antecedents to PSM Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Gender Antecedents to PSM The following sections seek to explore how gender might correlate with the three motives identified and examined by Perry and others: normative (i.e., commitment to public interest, civic duty, social justice); affective (i.e., compassion; self-sacrifice); and rational (i.e., attraction to policy making; see Brewer, Selden, and Facer 2000; Perry 1996, 1997). Predictors of Values: Nature and Nurture Biological theories have long been relied on to explain sex-differentiated behaviors or values. For example, men tend to be more aggressive than women, and there is a biological component to this: males have larger quantities of testosterone (Batrinos 2012; Wilder 1997). Regrettably, however, biological theories have also been historically relied upon to subjugate and discriminate against women (Halpern 2012; Lippa 2014; Maccoby and Jacklin 1974). That is to say, early studies—albeit with serious methodological flaws—were employed to conclude that men were more intelligent than women (Dykiert, Gale, and Deary 2009; Halpern 2012; Hunt and Madhyastha 2008). Some of these early studies merely compared brain mass and volume to conclude that women were intellectually inferior to men. Indeed, this is the primary reason that many feminist scholars insist that there are no “natural” differences between men and women, but rather that contextual variables (e.g., sex discrimination, sex role socialization) are the primary reasons for sex differences (see Bryson 1992; Phillips 2004). Moreover, the findings of existing studies tend to be misused in order to advance political agendas that are detrimental to women. It is common, for example, for conservatives and liberals as well to claim that biological differences make women poorly suited for certain jobs, especially in the STEM fields. It may be recalled that Harvard President Lawrence Summers was harshly reproached for his statement that women were underrepresented as scientists at elite universities because of “innate” differences between women and men. Nonetheless, advances to neuroscience have affected the way we think about cognitive sex differences. Halpern (2012, xi), for example, points out that “Perhaps one of the greatest contributions from the biological revolution is that we can now see changes in the brain that result from experience. In a strange twist, modern biological techniques have advanced our understanding of the importance of environmental variables.” Controversial as it may be, there is some evidence pointing to biological reasons for certain sex-differentiated behaviors and values. Psychologists have long addressed origin theories of sex differences between women and men and their implications ultimately for sex roles and behavioral differences between the sexes. Evolutionary psychologists, for example, have produced a critical body of research pointing to the biological causes of sex-differentiated values or behaviors (see Buss 1995; Kenrick and Keefe 1992; Maccoby and Jacklin 1974; Tooby and Cosmides 1992; Wilder 1997). This research shows that men and women possess “sex-specific evolved mechanisms” that produce sex-specific values or traits (Eagly and Wood 1999, 408; Wood and Eagly 2002). As Halpern (2012, 161) points out “biology may underlie some tendencies or make certain experiences more probable,” indicating that biology in part can shape our abilities. Eliot (2009) elaborates by pointing out that “Sex differences in empathy emerge in infancy and persist throughout development, though the gap between adult women and men is larger than between girls and boys. The early appearance of any sex difference suggests it is innately programmed—selected for through evolution and fixed into our behavioral development through either prenatal hormone exposure or early gene expression differences.” Biological explanations for gender differences in cognitive functioning have been linked to differences in chromosomal makeup, the functioning of the brain (in terms of the two hemispheres), and sex hormones secreted by the endocrine glands. Chromosomes are responsible for the emission of sex hormones, which in turn affect brain development as well as the development of reproductive organs. These biological factors then contribute to cognitive sex differences. Costa, Terracciano, and McCrae (2001, 323) suggest that “the sexes will differ in domains in which they have faced different adaptive problems throughout evolutionary history. For example, for biological reasons, including pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation, women have more invested than men do in relations with children.” That is to say, women have higher levels of the hormone oxytocin, produced during labor and lactation, which elicits bonding and nurturing behaviors. Members of each sex, then, evolve preference or value systems that are generally unique to each. As such, women may be genetically predisposed to exhibit certain affective motives (e.g., compassion, self-sacrifice, caring). Thus, genetics has important implications for PSM. Proposition 1: Women, based on genetics, will be more inclined than men to exhibit the PSM values of nurturing and caring. It has been well established that there are biological differences between women and men. And certainly biology creates potential as well as limitations on the abilities and behaviors of both women and men. But, it is the environmental factors which influence how and the extent to which women and men develop and engage those abilities. Social psychologists maintain that contextual or environmental and cultural pressures produce sex-differentiated values and ultimately behaviors; that we essentially adjust to our sex roles due to socialization (see, e.g., Pandey, DeHart-Davis, and Pandey 2017; Ridgeway 2001; Wilder 1997). Moreover, personality traits, while affected by genes, develop differently for women and men based on socialization.5 Thus, the manner in which girls and boys are socialized creates both restrictions and opportunities for adult women and men. For example, to the extent women are socialized into “female” jobs they are socialized out of job opportunities that avail themselves to men. Research on sex-stereotyping in the 1960s focused, for example, on adults conceptions of male and female characteristics. Consistently, the traits ascribed to men included competitiveness and independence. Women, on the other hand, were seen as more gentle, caring, and emotional (see Rosenkrantz et al. 1968; Wilder 1997). Comparable results were achieved in studies in the 1970s and 1980s, notwithstanding feminist activism in the 1970s (Deaux and Lewis 1984; Ruble 1983). In more recent research on the gendered aspects of public employee behavior, Nielsen (2015) points to the micro- and macrosociological literature, which illustrates that behavioral differences between men and women are found in society’s structural and institutional foundations. She notes that “Children acquire cultural norms and habits through, for example, mass media, school, adults’ division of work, and hence also norms about appropriate gender behavior. The socialization process continues throughout adulthood, where family, friends, managers, and colleagues build up expectations and define norms of behavior through their behavior and ways of talking…. Girls and women are commonly expected, socialized, and verbalized to be more empathic, less competitive, and poorer at systemizing than boys and men” (Nielsen 2015, 1009). Nielsen concludes that men tend to prefer competitive roles, whereas women prefer roles that express empathy and caring (also see Gilligan 1982).6 Proposition 2: Women are socialized more than men to express the PSM values of empathy, caring and compassion. To the extent women are socialized to be less competitive, they are also more likely to work cooperatively and harmoniously (see, e.g., Eagly and Johannesen-Schmidt 2001; Pandey, DeHart-Davis, and Pandey 2017). As Zelezny, Chua, and Aldrich (2000, 445) argue, “Females across cultures are socialized to be more expressive, to have a stronger ‘ethic of care,’ and to be more interdependent, compassionate, nurturing, cooperative and helpful in caregiving…On the other hand, males are socialized to be more independent and competitive.” Moreover, women, because of disadvantages due to discrimination, social exclusion, or marginalization, are perhaps more motivated to work to correct these inequities and injustices. They are more willing to work on gender initiatives than men, and social structural theorists have found that women also hold more egalitarian attitudes as compared with men (Katz-Wise, Priess, and Hyde 2010; Mendelberg and Karpowitz 2016; Ridgeway 2001; Twenge 1997). In effect, women are more likely to demonstrate affective and norm-based motives, and this may be the case especially for women of color, based on family and cultural upbringing (Breslin, Pandey, and Riccucci 2017; Hamidullah and Riccucci 2017).7 Proposition 3: Women more than men are socialized to promote the prosocial values of fairness and equalitarianism. Rainey and Steinbauer (1999, 23) point out that altruism is a fundamental value of PSM, in that it connotes self-sacrifice and an inherent desire to serve the interests of “a community people” at the expense of such extrinsic rewards as money. Similarly, Chou (1998, 195) pointed out that altruism is the “voluntary, intentional behavior that benefits another and that is not motivated by the expectation of external rewards or avoidance of externally produced punishments.” Altruism suggests a sense of civic duty to the extent individuals are willing to serve communities and assume responsibility for serving others. While civic duty has generally been studied within the context of voting behavior or voter turnout,8 some have defined it more broadly in the context of community engagement. Loewen and Dawes (2012, 364), for example, define civic duty as the motivation to “undertake actions that benefit others.” In this broader sense, civic duty, like altruism, suggests a responsibility to help and promote the well-being of others in the community. Researchers studying prosocial behavior have long been interested in understanding sex-differentiated behaviors such as altruism (see Eisenberg, Fabes, and Spinrad 2006). Several studies show that women compared to men tend to place more value on altruism (Elindera and Erixsona 2012; Piliavin and Charng 1990; Smith 2003). Seefeldt (2008, 1), for example, points out that “this difference could be due to the differences in socialization of men and women. Women are socialized to have concern for others and to take care of one another, while men are mainly socialized to be in competition with each other.” Thus, altruistic behavior may be affected by role expectations as well as the nature of social situations (see Jeffries et al. 2006). In this sense, men may perform altruistic acts, but they are performed during situations where men are expected to act heroically (Elindera and Erixsona 2012). Seefeldt (2008) states that men will exhibit altruistic behaviors particularly in emergency situations that involve independent, self-oriented behaviors and require a high degree of risk. Research on gender stereotypes suggests that men tend to be seen as “heroes,” but this is a less accepted ideal for women (Eagly and Crowley 1986). On the other hand, situations that call for more interpersonal behaviors and are associated with concern for others may be associated more with women (Spence and Helmreich 1980). Women are expected to serve others, caring for their personal and emotional needs before their own. Proposition 4: Women more than men are socialized to exhibit the prosocial values of self-sacrifice, altruism and civic duty. There are also physical differences (e.g., men tend to be greater in size) which also affect role assignment and sexual divisions of labor: women to women’s jobs, men to men’s jobs, with contextual variables (e.g., discrimination) that also predict job assignments and pay. Women, for example, are not socialized into conceptualizing firefighting as a career option and in fact, women comprise only 5.7% of firefighting jobs in the United States (US Bureau of Labor Statistics [US BLS] 2015). Importantly, however, although women may lack the physical size requirements conceived by society to do the job effectively, they can be trained to perform the job duties of firefighting; yet, they are often blocked from entering this profession because various social and cultural factors (e.g., discrimination and society’s belief that firefighting is “men’s work”) operate against them (Riccucci 2002).9 Eagly and Wood (1999, 409) argue that “Evolutionary psychology views sex-specific evolved dispositions as psychological tendencies that were built in through genetically mediated adaptation to primeval conditions; the theory treats contemporary environmental factors as cues that interact with adaptations to yield sex-typed responses.” If this is the case, evolved sex-differentiated tendencies in addition to socialized, environmental dispositions can have the effect of inducing women to support or help other women. Women choose, but may also be directed into jobs where they help or care for women. Khunou, Pillay, and Nethononda (2012) suggest that caring professions such as nursing, teaching, and social work are generally viewed as women’s jobs and women have a propensity to choose these jobs due to socialization. In effect, they disproportionately hold higher percentages of these jobs. For example, women comprise 90% of registered nurses, 81% of elementary and middle school teachers, and 81.9% of social workers in this nation (US BLS 2015). Interestingly, even in jobs they dominate, they are often paid less than their male counterparts. A recent study showed that registered female nurses earn around $5,000 less a year than male nurses, which translates into roughly $150,000 over a lifetime (see Alkadry and Tower 2006; Guy and Newman 2004; Muench et al. 2015). Societal stereotypes around gender can also influence the career aspirations of women and men. For example, as Bian, Leslie, and Cimpian (2017, 389) point out, “the stereotype that men are better than women at mathematics impairs women’s performance in this domain and undermines their interest in mathematics-intensive fields.” Their review of several studies involving 400 children shows that by age 6, girls are less likely than boys to believe that girls are “really, really smart” and further that these girls avoid activities that are for “really, really smart” children. The studies point to gendered notions of being smart or intelligent and can ultimately affect the career choices of young women. Similarly, studies on emotional labor also suggest that jobs that require affective skills such as compassion, nurturing, and caring are held disproportionately by women (Guy and Newman 2004; Mastracci, Guy, and Newman 2014). Meier, Mastracci, and Wilson (2006, 899) point out that “Emotional labor consists of personal interactions—separate from actual job descriptions—among employees and between employees and clientele that facilitate the effective and smooth operation of the organization.” These jobs are also undervalued, and hence underpaid. According to Guy and Newman (2004, 291) “Women’s jobs are different from men’s. Why? We maintain that emotional labor offers the explanation. Close to three-fourths of all paraprofessionals are women and almost 90 percent of support jobs are held by women. Although these jobs require skills comparable to those required of craft workers (95 percent of whom are male), they are compensated at lower rates.” They go on to say that “It is true that women are overrepresented in relational jobs and underrepresented in scientific and technical jobs. There is a monetary penalty not only for being female, but also for holding a job that involves caring and nurturing” (Guy and Newman 2004, 292). Importantly, both men and women engage in emotional labor, but the expectation of what is required of them differs. In other words, the expectation is gendered. Meier, Mastracci, and Wilson (2006) empirically examine the effects of emotional labor on organizational performance. Importantly, their study assumes that emotional labor does exist and, with good reason, that women are its main providers. They point out that emotional labor is not gender specific, but studies illustrate that women offer more emotional labor than men. Moreover, women are expected to do so. Consistent with their propositions, they find that organizations with higher degrees of emotional labor will produce positive interactions with clients and employees within the organization and, in general, will be more effective than organizations without high levels of emotional labor. It may be the case, then that women self-select into jobs aimed at helping other women; they may choose, for example, to work in areas of domestic violence or battered women’s shelters. Proposition 5: Women compared to men are socialized into jobs that require the prosocial value of emotional labor. With respect to origin theory, however, nature and nurture are not dichotomous but rather are interactive. That is to say, genetically and biologically mediated gender differences interact with cultural and social mechanisms to influence values and ultimately sex role behavior. Women, for example, can bear children, while men cannot. Recent research suggests that pregnancy changes the size and structure of those areas of women’s brains which are linked to the feelings and perceptions of others (Hoekzema et al. 2016). Neurological research further indicates that, in general, there are significant differences in the brain processes of men and women, whereby women possess greater levels of empathy and men are better at systemizing, or exploring and constructing systems (Baron-Cohen 2003; Nielsen 2015; Pinker 2008). Proposition 6: Women compared to men are more likely to express the PSM values of empathy, caring and nurturing due to the interactive effects of biological and social mechanisms. Personality Traits and Gender As noted, van Witteloostuijn, Esteve, and Boyne (2017) examine personality traits as potential antecedents of PSM. However, they rely on Ashton and Lee’s (2001,,2007) HEXACO model of personality traits without considering how gender interacts with environmental factors to form personality traits. But, as noted previously, the field of behavioral genetics suggests that an interactive effect between genetics and the environment leads to the development of personality traits that are different for women compared to men. Saudino (2005, 214) points out that “temperament refers to individual differences in behavioral tendencies that have a constitutional basis. Soon after birth, children show a great deal of variation in those behavioral dimensions considered to be temperamental (e.g., emotionality, activity level, attention/persistence, sociability, reactivity, etc.). For example, some children cry easily and intensely whereas others are more easy going; some are highly active and always on the go where others are more sedentary; some attend and persist in tasks for long periods of time where others’ attention wanders quickly.” After birth, maturation and environmental factors (i.e., the manner in which we are socialized by family, education, peer groups) interact with a child’s temperament to then help form personality traits (see Carter et al. 2003). Such traits include, for example, empathy, compassion, independence, cooperativeness, and caring. These traits, as noted above, are linked to gender, exactly because of the socialization or environmental forces that interact with genetic factors (also see, e.g., Thomas and Chess 1977; Thomas et al. 1963). A number of empirical studies have demonstrated these sex-related differences in personality (see, e.g., Costa, Terracciano, and McCrae 2001; Feingold 1994; Maccoby and Jacklin 1974). Women tend to demonstrate such personality traits as agreeableness, warmth, nurturance, and openness to feelings, whereas men are higher in assertiveness, individualism, dominance, and openness to ideas. Proposition 7: Women compared to men exhibit personality traits that are conducive to PSM values. In sum, social origins—biological and genetic factors—in concert with a number of contextual factors produce different value sets for women as compared with men. For women, the values revolve around compassion, empathy, self-sacrifice, and helping and caring for others, which comprise normative and affective motives. For men, it is exploring and building systems. But, women may be drawn to public service for rational reasons as well, in the sense that it fulfills their self-interested need of serving others. It may be that rational motives interact with norm and affective motives to the extent that women’s PSM stems from their own needs to serve others. As Ritz, Brewer, and Neumann (2016, 423) point out, “people often misconstrue public service motivation as a purely altruistic concept. What they fail to account for is that individuals often perform meaningful public service for rational, self-interested, or instrumental reasons….. Indeed, self-interest can be a good thing when it is aligned with the public interest. Self-serving motives are an important part of public service, and they play an important role in an institutional environment characterized by competing policy interests and bureaucratic politics” (c.f. Brennan and Buchanan 1985). Attraction to Policy Making As discussed earlier, rational motives are linked to utility maximization and self-interest. And, in fact, Perry (1996) construed attraction to policy making as a rational motive. Ritz (2011, 1128) notes that “The image of humankind as ‘homo oeconomicus’ as put forward by the rational choice theory in the 1960s set the stage for an image of public administration and employees in that sector that dominated discussion for many years. According to this image, people behave rationally and based on self-interest” (Ritz 2011, 1128). He goes on to say that “Rational motives are based on a calculative, intellectual assessment of situations and consequent actions” (Ritz 2011, 1130). But these values are ostensibly antithetical to the values and behaviors discussed above, which indicate that women are more likely than men to be compassionate, engaging in self-sacrificing behavior. It may be that women in order to fulfill personal needs may be attracted to policy making in order to help others; that is, they do not view involvement in policy making as a personal gain, but rather as the ability to serve broad as well as narrow social interests (e.g., women in need). In this sense, the rational, self-interested desire to help others suggests a desire to bring positive change to the lives of people they serve more broadly through policy making. Policy making is after all an effort to positively influence the lives of others. Perry and Wise (1990, 368) point out that “Individuals may be drawn to government or pursue particular courses of action within government because of their belief that their choices will facilitate the interests of special groups. One of the arguments frequently found in the literature on representative bureaucracy is that a widely representative bureaucracy facilitates inclusion of a range of policy perspectives in a society. Such an argument assumes that one motive prevalent in pluralistic societies is an individual’s conscious or unconscious advocacy for special interests.” In addition, the concept of “public service” inherently suggests support for others. As Bright (2005, 146) observes, “Public service occupations represent those work roles in governmental bodies that are largely associated with the act of providing direct services and benefits to society. One can argue that many public service occupations are more congruent with the assumptions of support and caretaking,” roles that are consistent with the values of women. Proposition 8: Women are attracted to policy making to fulfill a rational motive to serve the needs and interests of others, particularly other women. Obviously, men, too, will be drawn to policy making, but their interests may be more in line with the more conventional view of rational motives: utility maximization and self-interest. Perry and Wise (1990, 368) point out that “participation in the process of policy formulation can be exciting, dramatic, and reinforcing of an individual’s image of self importance.” Ritz (2011, 1130) goes even further to argue that along the lines of Niskanen’s (1971) economic perspective of self-interested behavior, “Boosting self-esteem and exerting a targeted influence on the formulation of a policy for personal gain can be seen as rational motives which serve as selective incentives for public employees and these incentives motivate them more than other situations assessed by them.” In accordance with the discussion above on sex-differentiated behaviors and values, where men tend to act in more self-interested, competitive ways, rational motives can also be ascribed to men in terms of their attraction to policy making. Research indicates that men tend to prefer competitive situations, in particular jobs that are competitive in nature (Nielsen 2015). Proposition 9: Men are attracted to policy making to fulfill a rational motive to promote their own self-esteem and self-interest. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION This discussion of the biological, social, and psychological aspects of gender and their effects on values hopefully contributes and extends the theory of PSM. Genetic, biological, and socialization—or nurture and nature—factors help to understand the social motives underpinning PSM. The conceptual model presented in figure 1 points to the importance of social antecedents to PSM. While the case of gender was examined in this essay, certainly other aspects of social origins such as the intersection of gender, race, and ethnicity among others could also reveal critical antecedents to PSM. The ultimate aim, to be sure, is to identify factors that contribute to individuals’ motives and desires to pursue careers in the public service. This after all is a key concern for researchers in the fields of public management and administration. When Perry and Wise first advanced the concept of PSM, they addressed it in the context of a decline in public confidence in government and efforts to instill public service values in the American people; these concerns exist even today. They argued that “Calls for a recommitment of Americans to values associated with government service, among them personal sacrifice and duty to the public interest, raise practical questions about the power of these values to stimulate and direct human behavior. At their core, calls for a renewal of public service motivation assume the importance of such motivations for an effective and efficient public service. Those who advocate using public service motivation as the primary steering mechanism for bureaucratic behavior perceive that it is essential for achieving high levels of performance” (Perry and Wise 1990, 367). This essay creates opportunities for future research. For example, the propositions related to gender antecedents to PSM lend themselves to empirical testing. Are women compared to men predisposed to PSM values due to genetic, biological, and social factors? Are women attracted to policy making in order to fulfill a rational motive to serve the needs and interests of others? For men, does the rational motive derive from efforts to promote their own self-interest and self-esteem? These are but a few questions that could be pursued in efforts to understand how gender antecedes PSM. Future research may also go beyond Crewson’s (1997), discussed earlier, to empirically examine the implications of the PSM for representative bureaucracy. If gender is an antecedent to PSM, is there a linkage ultimately to the public servant’s organizational behavior and policy preferences? Are women predisposed to work for and pursue the interests of women in the general population? Recall that Perry and Wise (1990) raised this question, drawing attention to the potential that PSM is an intervening or mediating factor in representative bureaucracies. The question then is: Do genetics as well as contextual or environmental factors influence values that serve as antecedents to PSM, which then produce policy preferences and ultimately policy outcomes that benefit certain segments of the population, in the current case, women? Interestingly enough, the well-established theories of representative bureaucracy and PSM appear inextricably linked, yet a conceptual framework connecting the two has not been developed in any systematic manner. The model presented in figure 1 serves as a framework for future research, which could facilitate the refinement of the conceptual domain of PSM. Certainly, the testability of some of these propositions will be challenging, particularly those that address biological, genetic, and psychological factors. Proposition 6, for example, may be the most challenging to empirically test, because it calls for measuring the interactive effects of biological factors (genic) and social and cultural factors (social construction). But researchers in psychology, social psychology, and genetic development have been advancing studies that test hypotheses of measured gene-environment interaction, especially when examining human illness and disease. For example, obesity, which is tied to genetics, has been linked to such environmental factors as the location of fast-food restaurants and the “super-sizing” of commercial foods. The point here is that studies on gene-environment interactions, once thought to be rare, have been emerging in a host of fields (see, e.g., Moffitt, Caspi, and Rutter 2005, 2006). Also, as presented here, there are biological differences between women and men. Whether these differences are related to differences in the cognitive functioning of men and women, however, remains an empirical question. As a field, we are challenged to think outside the disciplinary and methodological boxes, going beyond our reliance on conventional research methods such as surveys, interviews, and observation. Many have called for greater interdisciplinary work in public management in order to further push the boundaries of the field. Wright (2011), for example, points out that as an interdisciplinary field, public administration and management have done a poor job of borrowing from other disciplines (also see Wright, Manigault, and Black 2004). He particularly points to “mainstream management scholars” failure to look beyond our own field in conducting scholarly research. Granted, other disciplines have largely ignored research in our field, but public management can shift paradigmatically by looking to research in not simply the social sciences but the natural and physical sciences as well. As Gaughan and Bozeman (2016) suggest, the field can benefit from greater collaboration between and among individuals, institutions, and disciplines. Dickens and Ormrod (2007, 41) call for an ontology that “explains how insights from both the social and physical sciences can be combined.” They argue that the “ideal of science is of an objective discipline that is value-free and guided by its own criteria of progress.” In this sense, they state, the “social influences on the theories and methods of science” should not be ignored (also see Fenstad 1995). Again it should be stressed that there continues to be controversy around gender as a function of biology. 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For example, some research shows that women are more likely to support the interests of women in the workplace and children (Seltzer, Newman, and Leighton 1997) and are also more favorable toward equal rights for women (Twenge 1997). In general, they are more supportive of social welfare issues (Everitt 2002). 4 Others might argue that the differences in behavior between men and women are based either on universal biological factors or social conventions only. 5 There is a good deal of research on the heritability of personality disorders. Bouchard (2004) points out, for example, that schizophrenia is the most extensively studied psychiatric illness, and the findings consistently suggest an extremely high degree of genetic influence. However, research has further found that are no sex differences in heritability. 6 A plethora of studies suggest that competition and empathy and caring cannot coexist. On the other hand, some research suggests that it is possible. See, for example, Barnett, Matthews, and Howard (1979) and Kohn (1993). 7 This article examines gender as a potential antecedent to PSM, but other characteristics that intersect with gender, such as race and ethnicity, might also prove significant and, thus, could be considered in future research. 8 In the context of the duty of citizens to vote, Blais (2000) found that women have a stronger sense of civic duty. Indeed, the League of Women Voters was founded on the principle that it is not only women’s’ right to vote, but a responsibility as well. 9 It should further be noted that the case law has not clearly determined whether these fitness tests are bona fide occupational qualifications (BFOQs) for the uniformed services. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Public Management Research Association. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)

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Perspectives on Public Management and GovernanceOxford University Press

Published: Sep 27, 2017

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