This paper aims at looking at the interconnection between public service motivation (PSM) and Confucian political philosophy. Confucian political philosophy outlines how those in public offices, whether as a ruler or as an official, should act. We will analyze the Western definition of PSM with reference to the meaning of the word “public” and attempt to show that Confucian administrative ethics is highly pertinent to the discussion of PSM. Perry’s (1996) definition of PSM has four different dimensions—namely, attraction to public policy making, commitment to the public interest, compassion, and self-sacrifice. The first dimension of PSM is incongruent with Confucian philosophy, while the other three dimensions match well with Confucianism. However, this is an ideal rather than a reality of “Confucianism in practice” in Confucian societies. In fact, Confucianism is linked to PSM in a prescriptive, rather than a descriptive, way. Copyright © 2014 Taylor and Francis Inc.
CitationYung, B. (2014). In what way is confucianism linked to public service motivation? Philosophical and classical insights. International Journal of Public Administration, 37(5), 281-287.
- Administrative ethic
- Public service motivation