Multi-Level Cultures and Public Employee Work Motivation: Focusing on Executive Agency Policy in South Korea

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Virginia Tech

In contrast to the decline of New Public Management (NPM) in many countries, reports on executive agency policy in Korea point to its success. To explore why it has been successful, this study investigates the relationship between multi-level culture and work motivation (i.e., job satisfaction and organizational commitment). This study develops a multi-level framework and examines direct, moderating, and varying contextual effects in the relationships among organizational cultures (clan, adhocracy, market, and hierarchy), individual perceptions of organizational culture, and work motivation, using survey data from 1,535 public employees in 46 executive agencies in Korea and hierarchical linear modeling (HLM). Key findings include, first, clan, adhocracy, market, and hierarchy organizational cultures all have positive associations with organizational commitment; however, individual perceptions of organizational market and hierarchy cultures are negatively related to organizational commitment and job satisfaction. Second, market and hierarchy cultures have positive varying contextual effects in relationships with organizational commitment. Third, organizational culture has more explanatory power than individual perceptions of organizational culture. Finally, efforts to develop and sustain balanced organizational culture evidently led to the success of the executive agency system in Korea. The findings support the argument that NPM reforms need to be examined through the lens of a multi-level culture and balanced culture perspective.

Multi-level culture, Work motivation, New Public Management, Contextual effects, Executive Agency