Current Projects

A Scoping Review of Literature and Research on Public Service Motivation in Canada


We are currently working on a scoping review of literature that investigates public service motivation (PSM) in Canada. PSM is a theoretical framework from the discipline of public administration that captures reasons for individuals’ pursuit of public service employment. Most often the context is employment in government, although other forms of public service are also considered (e.g. teaching, health care).

We have completed the systematic search and selection of literature and are currently amidst the full-text review phase. The search included two bibliographic database searches, and manual searches of 12 leading journals of public administration, as identified by Ritz et al. (2016). We have found 18 Canadian empirical studies dating back to 1990 (when the concept of PSM was introduced). This number might change during the full-text review phase, if for example bibliographies reveal further studies. It is not likely to change by much, however, given the already performed systematic search.

We can conclude that there is very little Canadian PSM literature. The volume of PSM literature is substantially greater internationally, and Canada does not pull its weight. Our question now is WHY is there so little Canadian PSM literature.

The objectives of the Canadian scoping review are:

  • to describe the state of extant Canadian PSM literature
  • to describe current and ongoing studies of PSM in Canada, and 
  • to identify the reasons for the dearth of Canadian PSM literature
See full bios for each team member here.

Dominika Wranik 

Maude Boulet

Alexandre Abou

Michelle McPherson

Huiyan Liu