Original Research

Impact of public service motivation on work evaluation and counterproductive work behaviour

Phakane M. Masukela, Petronella Jonck, Petrus A. Botha
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 21 | a2231 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v21i0.2231 | © 2023 Phakane Moses Masukela, Petronella Jonck, Petrus Albertus Botha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 January 2023 | Published: 22 November 2023

About the author(s)

Phakane M. Masukela, Business School, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Petronella Jonck, Department of FEMS, Faculty of Global Innovative Forefront Talent, North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa
Petrus A. Botha, Business School, North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa


Orientation: Public service motivation has increased in prominence in recent years, even though the influences on employee behaviour and attitudes have not received as much emphasis.

Research purpose: This research investigates the impact of public service motivation on job satisfaction, organisational commitment, work engagement and counterproductive work behaviour.

Motivation for the study: Counterproductive work behaviour of public service employees results in the citizenry developing negative perceptions about the government. Notwithstanding, the behaviour and attitudes of public service employees and the motivation that drives them are less explicit.

Research approach/design and method: A positivist correlational research approach was implemented by administering a questionnaire to a sample of 1031 public service employees in the North West Province using a simple stratified sampling method. Statistical analyses included structural and regression modelling.

Main findings: Results reveal that public service motivation statistically significantly predicts job satisfaction, organisational commitment and work engagement. The results show that 28.9% of the variance in counterproductive work behaviour could be attributed to public service motivation. Thus, as public service motivation increases, counterproductive work behaviour decreases.

Practical or managerial implications: Strategies to improve public service motivation could putatively have an impact on the reduction of counterproductive work behaviour. Public service motivation could also improve service delivery to the citizenry by significantly impacting the public service employees’ work engagement.

Contribution/value-add: Empirical evidence shows the influence of public service motivation on core work evaluation and counterproductive work behaviour, contributing to the corpus of knowledge with practical applicability.


core work evaluation; public service motivation; counterproductive work behaviour; job satisfaction; work engagement; organisational commitment

JEL Codes

M54: Labor Management

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth


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