Date of Award

Summer 2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

School of Public Service

Program/Concentration

Public Administration and Urban Policy

Committee Director

Juita-Elena (Wie) Yusuf

Committee Member

David Chapman

Committee Member

Katrina Miller-Stevens

Committee Member

Marina Saitgalina

Abstract

This dissertation examines the differences between individuals who acquire non-profit board positions by actively seeking out these positions and individuals who acquire non-profit board positions in other ways in regards to the concept of public service motivation, antecedents of public service motivation, and characteristics of service. First, Public Service Motivation (PSM) theory is used to study how the concept of public service motivation relates to the method by which individuals acquire positions on non-profit boards. Second, using PSM theory, this dissertation examines how antecedents of public service motivation, such as religious socialization and family socialization, are related to an individual’s method of acquiring a position on a non-profit board. This dissertation also examines the differences in characteristics of service between individuals who actively seek out board positions and individuals who acquire board positions in other ways, regarding their roles on the board, length of service, skills contributed on the current board, and organizational characteristics of non-profits served, such as non-profit size and focus area.

This study utilizes secondary data from a pre-existing online survey (Board Member Motivation survey) administered to approximately 3,000-member organizations of the Georgia Center for Nonprofits (Miller-Stevens & Ward, 2013). The findings demonstrated that public service motivation and the theory’s antecedents did not have significant effects on the method of actively seeking out a non-profit board position, and the method of actively seeking out a non-profit board position had to a considerable extent no effect on characteristics of service. The current study also exposed the relationship between PSM and characteristics of service, revealing that PSM possibly had statistically significant positive relationships with a significant number of characteristics of service.

In conclusion, although the findings showed no evidence that indicated that individuals who actively seek out positions on non-profit boards are significantly different from those who acquire these positions in other ways in relation to the concept of public service motivation, antecedents of public service motivation, and characteristics of service, the study uncovered valuable information on viable relationships between PSM and characteristics of service. This suggests that PSM theory can be applied, in part, to the study of the motives and resulting behaviors of governance volunteers. This research is theoretically significant because it contributes to the field of public administration by adding to the growing body of literature on the relationship between PSM theory and the characteristics of service of public service of volunteers. This research also further expands the application of PSM theory to the study of the motives and characteristics of service of governance volunteers in the non-profit sector. This research is practically significant because an understanding of the association between PSM, the method of acquiring a board position, and ensuing characteristics of service can be used to design efficient and effective processes related to the recruitment, engagement, and retention of suitable non-profit board members and public service volunteers in both the public and non-profit sectors.

DOI

10.25777/q18v-v086

ISBN

9781088382912

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