University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

Job satisfaction, voluntary turnover intention and public service ethos: A study of British public sector employees.

Good, Brian. (2010) Job satisfaction, voluntary turnover intention and public service ethos: A study of British public sector employees. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.

Download (14MB) | Preview


Job satisfaction and voluntary turnover intention (intention to stay or to quit) are much-studied phenomena, yet they are still not entirely understood. Public service ethos is a concept that is believed to have been eroded significantly due to a series of waves of public sector reforms that reached their peak in the 1980s and 1990s, but with impacts that are still being felt today. The underlying philosophy of using market forces to inject commercial rigour into the provision of services to the public is controversial, and there is uncertainty regarding what impact if any this trend has had on both the services themselves and the people involved in delivering them. This study was carried out primarily among the staff of a "typical" local government body in southeast England in 2007/08, with semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire based on the earlier work of Spector (1997), Price (2001) and Lyons et al (2006). It was intended to assess the overall levels of job satisfaction and voluntary turnover intention among this workforce in order to benchmark against pre-existing norms from earlier studies, and then examine the data to identify any correlations that might exist, whilst screening for the moderating effects of public service ethos. Job satisfaction levels were found to be slightly below the norm, while the scores for voluntary turnover intention (intention to stay) were far higher than the norm. A medium positive correlation between job satisfaction and turnover intention was found, but no clear correlation with, or moderating effect of, public service ethos. Whilst the findings were broadly in line with expectations, there is an inference that the management might wish to seek to improve job satisfaction levels in some aspects, particularly relating to co-workers and the nature of the work that the employees are required to do. This might be translated into common parlance as giving people more interesting work with more interesting colleagues. The correlation between levels of satisfaction and turnover intention suggests that staff will tend to stay if they are reasonably satisfied in their jobs, but the strength of this relationship tends to weaken noticeably as staff get older and their length of service increases. An unexpected additional consequence of this study concerns the matter of public service ethos. Findings from the initial qualitative phase of the study indicated a powerful set of forces leading staff to work in the public sector. However, no corroborating evidence was found in the subsequent quantitative phase of the study. Does 'public service ethos' still exist in Great Britain in the 21st century?

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Good, Brian.
Date : 2010
Contributors :
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 09 Nov 2017 12:18
Last Modified : 20 Jun 2018 11:41

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800