Quotation Willems, Jurgen. 2020. Public servant stereotypes: It is not (at) all about being lazy, greedy, and corrupt. Public Administration. 98 (4), 807-823.




As stereotypes strongly influence social interactions, this study explores the stereotypical associations about public servants, and about various professions in the public sector as well as the for‐profit and non‐profit sectors. This leads to a better understanding of the theoretical and practical challenges, such as citizen behavior towards public servants, attractiveness, and political decisions about public service jobs. With a mixed‐method analysis of cognitive associations (7,470 associations by 415 respondents for 12 professions), the defining epithets of public servants are clarified, along with their positive or negative connotation. Despite the strongest associations for public servants being positive (caring, helpful, and dedicated), as an overall category, it has a less positive connotation, compared to some specific professions typical in the public sector (nurse, firefighter, and police). However, cognitive associations are substantially more positive for public servants, compared to politicians, lawyers, and salesmen.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Public Administration
Citation Index SSCI
WU Journalrating 2009 A
WU-Journal-Rating new INF-A, MAN-A, STRAT-B, WH-A
Language English
Title Public servant stereotypes: It is not (at) all about being lazy, greedy, and corrupt
Volume 98
Number 4
Year 2020
Page from 807
Page to 823
Reviewed? Y
URL https://doi.org/10.1111/padm.12686
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/padm.12686
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://doi.org/10.1111/padm.12686


Willems, Jurgen (Details)
Institute for Public Management and Governance IN (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5234 Administrative science (Details)
5308 Management sciences (Details)
6906 Public research (Details)
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