Investigating and Analyzing the Public Service Values in Public Organizations

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Candidate in Management of Public Organizations, Faculty of Management and Economics, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Associate Prof., Faculty of Management and Economic, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.


Objective: In the contemporary literature of organization and public administration, the values ​​that guide organizational and managerial behaviors in the public sector have received much attention. This article seeks to assess the real (existing) status of public service values ​​as well as identify and rank the ideal public service values ​​for government and public organizations.
Methods: The research method used in this research was a descriptive survey which was collected through the questionnaire of opinions and views of 721 employees of public and private organizations who were selected by purposive sampling. Descriptive statistics were used to examine the demographic characteristics of the respondents and inferential statistical methods were used to analyze the data.
Results: The findings showed that the public service values reflecting the traditions of public administration in the current (real) situation are lower than expected. Competence, Responsiveness, rule of law, transparency, accountability, integrity, productivity, preserve the public interest, equality and social justice and entrepreneurship were among the ten important values ​​that should be current and institutionalized in the minds of participants in government and public organizations.
Conclusion: Public administrators should periodically evaluate the values ​​of real public services in government and public organizations and, with the necessary planning, streamline and institutionalize the values ​​of public services expected and desired by citizens in government and public organizations.


Agle, B. R., & Caldwell, C. B. (1999). Understanding research on values in business. Business and Society, 38(3), 326-387.
Beck Jørgensen, T. B. and Bozeman, B. ‘Public Values: An Inventory (2007).
Administration and Societ, 39 (3), 354-81.
Chair, J. T. (1997). A Strong Foundation: Report of the Task Force on Public Service Values and Ethics (the summary). Canadian Public Administration/Administration Publique Du Canada, 40 (1), 1–22.
Dumas, C. and M. Blodgett (1999). Articulating Values to Inform Decision-Making: Lessons from Family Firms Around the World. International Journal of Values-Based  Management, 12, 209–221.
Frederickson, H. G. (1994). Research and Knowledge in Administrative Ethics. In T. Cooper (Eds.) Handbook of Administrative Ethics (pp. 31-47). Marcel Dekker, New York.
Kapstein, M. (2004). Business Codes of Multinational Firms: What Do They Say?. Journal of Business Ethics, 50(1), 13–31.
Kernaghan, Kenneth (1994). The emerging public service culture: values, ethics, and reforms. Canadian Public Administration, 37(4), 614-630.
Kernaghan, Kenneth (2003). Integrating Values into Public Service: The Values Statement as Centerpiece. Public Administration Review, 63(6), 711-719.
Hofstede, Geert, & Hofstede, G. J. (2005). Culture and Organizations: Software of the Mind. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Lawton, A. (1998). Ethical Management for the Public Services. Buckingham: Open University Press.
John W. Langford (2004). Acting on values: An ethical dead end for public servants. Canadian Public Administration , 47 (4): 429--450
Jørgensen, Torben Beck, and Barry Bozeman (2007). Public Values: An Inventory. Administration & Society, 39 (3), 354–381.
Josephson, M. (1996). Making Ethical Decisions (4th ed.) (Josephson Institute of Ethics, Marina del Rey, CA).
Molina, Anthony DeForest, and Cassandra L. McKeown (2012). The Heart of the Profession: Understanding Public Service Values. Journal of Public Affairs Education, 18 (2), 375–396.
New Zealand State Services Commission Values and Standards: Values in the New Zealand Public Service (Wellington: State Services Commission, 2001).
OECD ‘Ethics in the Public Service: Current Issues and Practice’ Public Management Occasional Papers No.14 (1996).
OECD Trust in Government: Ethics Measures in OECD Countries (Paris: OECD, 2000).
Oxford Dictionaries. (2008). Compact Oxford English dictionary of current English.
Rokeach, M. (1968). A theory of organization and change within value attitude systems. Journal of Social Issues, 24 (1), 13–33.
‌ Rokeach, M. (1973). The Human Side of Values (New York: Free Press)
Schmidt, W.H. and B.Z. Posner (1986). Values and Expectations of Federal Service Executives. Public Administration Review, 46 (4 ), 447–54. 
Sherman, T. ‘Public Sector Ethics: Prospect and Challenges’ in Sampford, C., Preston, N. and Bois, C-A. Public Sector Ethics: Finding and Implementing Values (London: FderationPress/Routledge, 1998), 13-25.
Toonen, T.A.J. Administrative Reform: Analytics’ in Peters, B. G and Pierre, J. Handbook of Public Administration (London: Sage, 2003), 467-77
Vandenabeele, W. (2007). Toward a Theory of Public Service Motivation: An Institutional Approach. Public Management Review, 9(4),545 56.
Vandenabeele, W., Scheepers, S., and Hondeghem, A. (2006). Public Service Motivation in an International Comparative Perspective: Th e UK and Germany. Public Policy and Administration, 21(1), 13–31.
Van der Wal, Zeger, De Graaf, Gjalt, & Lasthuizen, Karin. (2008). What's Valued Most? Similarities and Differences between the Organizational Values of the Public and Private Sector. Public Administration, 86(2), 465-482.
Van der Wal, Z. & Huberts, L. (2008). Value solidity in government and business: Results of an empirical study on public and private sector organizational values. The American Review of Public Administration, 38(3), 264-285.
Van Wart, Montgomery. (1998). Changing Public Sector Values (Vol. 1045): Taylor & Francis.
Witesman, E., & Walters, L. (2013). Public service values: A new approach to the study of motivation in the public sphere. Public Administration, 92(2), 2014 (375–405).
Yang, Lijing, and Zeger van der Wal. (2014). Rule of Morality vs. Rule of Law? An Exploratory Study of Civil Servant Values in China and the Netherlands. Public Integrity 16 (2), 187–206.