Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Administration

First Advisor's Name

Jean-Claude Garcia-Zamor

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Allan Rosenbaum

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Milena Neshkova

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Markus Thiel

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


human resource management, work motivation, state decentralization, organization centralization, communism, public sector, nonprofit sector, labor market, social care

Date of Defense



The work motivation construct is central to the theory and practice of many social science disciplines. Yet, due to the novelty of validated measures appropriate for a deep cross-national comparison, studies that contrast different administrative regimes remain scarce. This study represents an initial empirical effort to validate the Public Service Motivation (PSM) instrument proposed by Kim and colleagues (2013) in a previously unstudied context. The two former communist countries analyzed in this dissertation—Belarus and Poland— followed diametrically opposite development strategies: a fully decentralized administrative regime in Poland and a highly centralized regime in Belarus. The employees (n = 677) of public and nonprofit organizations in the border regions of Podlaskie Wojewodstwo (Poland) and Hrodna Voblasc (Belarus) are the subjects of study.

Confirmatory factor analysis revealed three dimensions of public service motivation in the two regions: compassion, self-sacrifice, and attraction to public service. The statistical models tested in this dissertation suggest that nonprofit sector employees exhibit higher levels of PSM than their public sector counterparts. Nonprofit sector employees also reveal a similar set of values and work attitudes across the countries. Thus, the study concludes that in terms of PSM, employees of nonprofit organizations constitute a homogenous group that exists atop the administrative regimes.

However, the findings propose significant differences between public sector agencies across the two countries. Contrary to expectations, data suggest that organization centralization in Poland is equal to—or for some items even higher than—that of Belarus. We can conclude that the absence of administrative decentralization of service provision in a country does not necessarily undermine decentralized practices within organizations. Further analysis reveals strong correlations between organization centralization and PSM for the Polish sample. Meanwhile, in Belarus, correlations between organization centralization items and PSM are weak and mostly insignificant.

The analysis indicates other factors beyond organization centralization that significantly impact PSM in both sectors. PSM of the employees in the studied region is highly correlated with their participation in religious practices, political parties, or labor unions as well as location of their organization in a capital and type of social service provided.





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