Public service motivation (PSM) literature has traditionally conceptionalized professionalism as identification with professional associations. In contrast, this article discusses professionalism as an occupational variable and claims that professionalism relates differently to the different PSM dimensions and user orientation. Using two different measures of professionalism, the article analyses 845 Danish employees and shows that professionalism is negatively related to compassion and user orientation, but positively related to attraction to policy-making. Commitment to the public interest and professionalism are not related. Thus, professionalism relates PSM in more complex ways than earlier supposed, pointing towards an institutional approach to professionalism and PSM.
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