Degree Name

Master of Public Administration

Department or Program

Political Science


Randall S. Davis


Research in public management consistently asserts that public service motivation (PSM) facilitates beneficial work behaviors and attitudes. However, few studies have been designed to examine PSM in specific occupations. Law enforcement agencies may provide unique places to examine PSM because the public benefit of policing is directly and immediately observable by officers. Yet, law enforcement occupations are highly stressful. This study attempts to connect one form of occupational stress - role ambiguity -, public service motivation, and job satisfaction in municipal police officers. Findings from a regression model indicate that the dimensions of public service motivation are important drivers of job satisfaction among police officers. Findings also suggest that minimizing occupational stress, in the form of clarifying organizational roles, plays a significant, and primary, role in shaping job satisfaction.