Confucian Values and Public Service Motivation: The Mediating Role of Paradoxical Leadership

Abstract

Although research of leadership and public service motivation (PSM) has been conducted in diverse cultural contexts, it remains understudied in Confucian Asia. The current study aims to examine how Confucian values influence PSM in Vietnam and also attempts to investigate the mediating role of paradoxical leadership in this relationship. Drawing mainly on the institutional theory of PSM (Perry, 2000; Vandenabeele 2007), this study proposes to examine whether Confucian values are positively related to paradoxical leadership and such leadership is also positively related to PSM. This prediction was tested using a sample of 206 public managers-civil servant dyads drawn from different government departments in Vietnam. Public managers were asked to provide their responses to the established scales of Confucian values and paradoxical leadership. Civil servants were asked to respond to the scales of paradoxical leadership and PSM for data analysis. The analytical data procedures were outlined by PROCESS Macro of SPSS developed by Hayes (2013). Results provide support for the mediation model that Confucian values were found to be positively related to paradoxical leadership, which in turn also exerted a positive impact on PSM. The findings of this study contribute to the understanding of the relationships between Confucian values, paradoxical leadership, and PSM in the public sector of Vietnam. The findings also extend to the public management systems in other countries that share some similar Confucian values like Vietnamese do in Asia. In terms of the practical implications, the public managers should communicate the positive characteristics of Confucian values and practice the use of paradoxical leadership behaviors to increase PSM among civil servants.



Author Information
Tam Nguyen, Monash University, Australia
Herman Tse, Monash University, Australia
Ly Fie Sugianto, Monash University, Australia
Sen Sendjaya, Swinburne University, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: ACAS2020
Stream: South-East Asian Studies (including Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos)

This paper is part of the ACAS2020 Conference Proceedings (View)
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