Are Highly Public Service–Motivated Individuals Immune to Common Causes of Unethical Behavior? Calibrating the Moderating Role of Group Pressure and Competition for Economic Resources

New article by Guillem Ripoll, Enrique Hernández and Xavier Ballart in Public Performance & Management Review.

Previous research has neglected the moderating role of the environment in studying the negative effect of public service motivation (PSM) on unethical behavior. This article investigates whether this effect prevails under group pressure and competition for economic resources. Moreover, it assesses whether these moderating effects can be counterbalanced by activating public values. Using a survey experiment on a sample of citizens in Catalonia (Spain), the results suggest that PSM is vulnerable to group pressure and that the proposed activation of public values does little to neutralize this effect. The discussion addresses the findings and provides directions for future research.