Public service motivation (PSM) has been shown to be positively related to job satisfaction in the public sector, but there are two gaps in the literature. First, not only PSM but also pro-social motivation directed towards helping specific others (called user orientation) may affect job satisfaction. Second, the relationship between job satisfaction and these two types of pro-social motivation, PSM and user orientation, may also be found in the private sector. This study tests whether job satisfaction is associated with PSM and user orientation, and whether these associations differ between public and private employees. Using data from a survey of Danish employees (n=2,811), we generally find positive relationships between the two types of pro-social motivation and job satisfaction, but the strength of the associations vary between occupations. The PSM/job satisfaction association does not differ significantly between the private and public sector, while the user orientation/job satisfaction association is strongest for private employees. This suggests that to understand the relationships between pro-social motivation, employment sector and job satisfaction, future studies could fruitfully consider incorporating other types of pro-social motivation such as user orientation.
International Public Management Journal, 2013, Vol 16, Issue 2, p. 252-274