Street-level bureaucrats’ turnover intention: does public service motivation matter?

Dong Chul Shim, Hyun Hee Park, Tae Ho Eom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the joint influences of work exhaustion, job demands (red tape, role conflict, work overload), and public service motivation on street-level bureaucrats’ turnover intention. Based on a survey of 4974 Korean street-level bureaucrats, the study examines the potential mediating role of work exhaustion and complex moderating role of public service motivation in determining street-level bureaucrats’ turnover intention. In line with previous research, we find that job demands have both direct and indirect associations with street-level bureaucrats’ turnover intention through work exhaustion. However, public service motivation was found to reduce the employees’ turnover intention in two different ways. First, public service motivation was found to have a direct negative association with turnover intention. In addition, it was also found to mitigate the positive associations between job demands and work exhaustion, and between job demands and turnover intention. Points for practitioners: The findings of the current study provide several practical implications for public managers. First of all, it suggests that imbuing public sector values through formal and informal training is important. Second, it provides some clues for local government managers to reduce street-level bureaucrats’ work exhaustion and turnover intention. For example, the problem of work overload for street-level bureaucrats could be reduced by reassigning work responsibilities according to workload analyses for given jobs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-582
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Review of Administrative Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sept 1


  • human resource management
  • public management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


Dive into the research topics of 'Street-level bureaucrats’ turnover intention: does public service motivation matter?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this