Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and public service motivation (PSM) have always been regarded as the advantages of bureaucracy by public administration and management scholars because both of them have been proven to be conducive to improving the service impact of street-level bureaucrats. However, in terms of research direction, the existing studies have separately explored the roles of PSM and OCB, regarding OCB as the behavioral result of PSM, but there is a lack of comparison between the two concepts. On the other hand, in terms of research context, existing research still regarded street-level bureaucracy as an undifferentiated public organization whole, lacking systematic studies on the influence of the diversity of street-level bureaucrats on their service impact. To address that, we came up with two research questions :
- 1. As outcomes of leader-member exchange, which of PSM or OCB has a stronger mediation effect on the service impact of the street-level bureaucrats?
- 2. As a moderating variable, how will the diversity of street-level bureaucrats affect the mediation effect of OCB and PSM in the context of the post-epidemic period Wuhan affected by the wave of new public management and the government's purchase of public services?
This study uses the snowball sampling method, sending electronic questionnaires to community workers through We-Chat online for sampling survey. Due to our research context design, we selected 473 street-level bureaucrats working in the community located in Wuhan city from 1669 sampling samples to test our hypotheses. To further understand the action logic of different types of street-level bureaucrats during the epidemic, we included interviews with three social workers from three social worker agencies that provided services during Wuhan’s epidemic and three community workers from different communities in Wuhan. We use confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modeling analysis to verify the reliability and validity to improve the accuracy of our research design and analysis results, the bias correction percentage method is used to test the intermediary effect.
We built and verified two comparative models that leader-member exchange affects street-level bureaucrats’ service impact through the mediating effect of their PSM and OCB, confirming that OCB has a stronger mediation effect on the service impact of street-level bureaucrats. We further investigate the relationship between leader-member exchange and service impact, considering the moderating role of the diversity of the street-level bureaucracy. Specifically, we found that the positive impacts of leadership-member exchange on administrative bureaucrats’ OCB and PSM are nearly two times that of professional bureaucrats, while the positive impact of OCB on service impact is more than twice the professional bureaucrats as it was among administrative bureaucrats.
Our research finds that, compared to PSM, the OCB of street-level bureaucrats in post-epidemic Wuhan can play a stronger role in the socialist bureaucratic context with Chinese characteristics. This study brings a new direction to PSM and OCB studies and can be conducive to optimizing the allocation of leadership within the street-level bureaucracy and achieving better individual and organizational performance.