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BAME Staff and Public Service Motivation: The Mediating Role of Perceived Fairness in English Local Government

Abstract

This study aims to examine the perceptions of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff in English local government on the ethical nature of their treatment at work, and its mediating effect on their Public Service Motivation (PSM). This is a particular imperative in a sector which itself delivers social justice within a strong regulatory system designed to ensure workplace equality and therefore is expected to be a model employer for other organisations. Employees place great importance on their fair treatment by their employers and, in particular, the endeavour of managerial authority to implement equality at work based on their discretionary powers. 2580 valid responses were collected from 15,000 questionnaires sent to staff in five local councils in England. Our analyses show that BAME employees have a significantly stronger PSM than their white colleagues; however, this has been eroded by their perception of unfair treatment: being underpaid allied with a lack of effort from management to ensure an equal work environment, to be specific, to prevent discrimination, bullying, and racism at workplace. Most importantly, the perceived exertion made by management to ensure an equal work environment has a significantly strong mediating effect on PSM and a compensational effect on perceived lower pay. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    The survey was funded by UNISON, the local government trade union.

  2. 2.

    Mike Ironside, Kath Clark, and Roger Seifert.

  3. 3.

    χ2(105) = 501.50, since it is not a good indicator for large sample size (Schermelleh-Engel et al. 2003; Vandenberg and Grelle 2009), thus not included here.

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Acknowledgements

This study was funded by UNISON.

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Correspondence to Wen Wang.

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Wang, W., Seifert, R. BAME Staff and Public Service Motivation: The Mediating Role of Perceived Fairness in English Local Government. J Bus Ethics 161, 653–664 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-018-3953-8

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Keywords

  • BAME
  • Public service motivation
  • Fair pay
  • Equal Work Environment
  • UK