Theses and Dissertations


Stanisevski, Dragan

Committee Member

Shoup, Brian D.

Committee Member

French, P. Edward

Committee Member

Potter, Michael R.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Immediate Worldwide Access

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Public Policy and Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Political Science and Public Administration


Within the next 15 years, a significantly large percentage of adults will exit the U.S. public sector workforce, taking their experience and knowledge with them. This considerable number of departures from the public sector workforce is expected to create a crisis of sorts for society as it grapples with how to ensure the public sector is not without its most important feature – public servants. The immediate crisis relates to how we, in record time, recruit and retain a new and highly qualified workforce that can quickly fill the gaps left by the exodus. Recently coming into their adult age, our youngest and quickly becoming our largest cohort of workforce-eligible adults, commonly referred to as “Gen Z,” are alarmingly underrepresented in the public sector. Underrepresentation is forecasted to continue and may grow. Nascent literature on Generation Z describes them as valuing the importance of public service and so the current lack of representation is puzzling and potentially points to an issue in motivation to serve in the public sector – or factors related to those motives. With permission to use Public Service Motivation (PSM) scholar Sangmook Kim’s revised public service motivation instrument, this study sets out to measure the public service motivation in a stratified random sample of Generation Z adults (Kim, 2012). Hypothesizing that Generation Z has a high level of public service motivation but is dissuaded from serving due to their perception of public sector culture, the study will introduce and examine other variables associated with organizational culture. The idea is that organizational culture – specifically the public sector’s culture – may play a role in Gen Z’s current underrepresentation. With a new generation of young adults showing signs of motivation to serve in the public sector, realizing the possibility that public sector organizational culture is getting in the way should influence a significant drive towards scholarship and practice related to public sector cultural transformation.