Public Administration Review vol:70 issue:5 pages:681-690
This article reviews the evolution of research about public service motivation (PSM) conducted since “The Motivational Bases of Public Service” (Perry and Wise 1990) appeared in the fiftieth anniversary volume of Public Administration Review. It assesses subsequent research in both public administration and social and behavioral sciences related to three propositions presented in the 1990 article. We examine evolving definitions of PSM to gain insight into the construct. We review what we have learned from PSM research and identify gaps in understanding and knowledge related to each of the three propositions. We conclude by identifying directions for advancing scholarship about PSM that might clarify current research questions, advance comparative research on PSM, and enhance understanding of individuals’ public service motives and their relationship to other important aspects of engagement.