Measuring Latent Concepts in Public Management

I just returned from the Public Management Research Conference in Syracuse — a wonderful event.  My USC PhD students Jennifer Connolly (2nd year) and Dyana Mason (1st year) presented preliminary results from an ongoing project that develops longitudinal, survey-based, agency-level measures of concepts used widely in public management research between 1998-2010.  The project’s goal is to provide data that inspire a wide range of cross-agency studies.  One example is job satisfaction.  The following chart shows our measure for a sample of federal agencies.

It is notable, for instance, that job satisfaction in the Department of Education fell steadily in the aftermath of the 2001 “No Child Left Behind” legislation, while NASA and the Department of the Interior saw increases in the second Bush administration.

We hope to wrap up the project this summer and will make the data for all measures available upon publication.  We also have measures of perceived bureaucratic discretion, intrinsic motivation, and discrimination and are working on a few others.