Do expectations meet aspirations? The relation of public managers’ job choice motives to job satisfaction

Xuhong Su, Barry Bozeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We investigate how public managers’ job choice motives shape their job satisfaction by using a representative sample of public managers from Georgia and Illinois in the United States. Factor analysis presents five main motives driving public managers to pursue a public position. By incorporating these primary job choice motives, the regression indicates that public managers’ job satisfaction level is largely affected by their professed motivations and organizational context. Those managers with higher levels of motivation for the factors Career Advancement or Public Value demonstrate a higher level of satisfaction with their jobs; while other motives such as Job Security, Salary and Smooth Working Environment seem to have no impact on public managers’ job satisfaction. Public managers working in Georgia are more satisfied with their job, regardless of the leading role Georgia played in dismantling traditional civil service reform. The study suggests that expectancy theory does not provide a strong explanation of public managers’ job satisfaction and ends with the discussion of future research directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Review of Public Administration
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • Job choice motives
  • Job satisfaction
  • Public managers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration


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