JOB SECTOR CHOICE AND PUBLIC SERVICE MOTIVATION: EVIDENCE FROM COLOMBIA
Degree awarded: Ph.D. Public Administration and Policy. American University
Public administration scholarship has yet to explore the relationship between job sector choice and public service motivation in developing countries. My dissertation aims to contribute to the field by investigating the factors that explain job sector decisions among highly skilled individuals through focusing on a sample of Colombian citizens who have pursued education abroad. More specifically, I draw on the fields of job sector choice and public service motivation to identify, both quantitatively and qualitatively, factors affecting the job sector decisions of internationally educated Colombians. I answer my research questions through an analysis of quantitative data gathered from the Colombian international scholarship program Colfuturo, and also through an analysis of qualitative data gathered from interviews with highly skilled individuals working in various sectors. The main conclusion reached is that the Colombian public sector remains an attractive employer, especially within certain groups of the population. However, other groups remain doubtful about accepting a public sector job. The Colombian government still has to adjust its recruitment strategies in terms of, among other things, salaries, duration of contracts, open access and transparency. Crucially, the results collected raise an important question concerning what the Colombian government should do, that is, whether it should facilitate access to government jobs for captive groups or, instead, attract qualified individuals currently working in other sectors. According to the quantitative and qualitative evidence provided herein, the answer is that both strategies are necessary if the Colombian government wants to increase its critical mass of highly qualified people, particularly within the upper echelons of government.
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