Wouter Vandenabeele is an Associate Professor Human Resources Management at Utrecht University and Visiting Professor at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium).  He member of the executive board and treasurer of the International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM). He is also a member of the European Group of Public Administration, the American Society of Public Administration and the Public Management Research Association. He is an editorial board member of various national and international academic journals. 

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He obtained his master in Political Sciences in 2000 at the Catholic University of Leuven. In 2008, he succesfully defended his PhD dissertation 'Towards a public administration theory of public service motivation' at e Catholic University of Leuven. Since 2009, he is affiliated to the Utrecht University School of Governance of (since 2015 as associate professor). In 2011, he was appointed vistiting professor at the Public Management Institute at the Catholic University Leuven.

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Wouter Vandenabeele published the results of his research in various national and international journals. He also wrote various book chapters in dutch and international books. Some of his recent and key publications are listed below (full list at tab CV).

  • Vandenabeele, W. (in press). Motivation, job satisfaction and retention/turnover in the public sector. In Burke, R., Cooper, C. and Noblet A. (Eds). Human resource management in the public sector: Achieving high quality service and effectiveness. Cheltenham : Edward Elgar

  • Kim, S., Vandenabeele, W, Wright, B. E., Andersen, L. B., Cerase, F. P. et al (in press). Investigating the structure and meaning of public service motivation across populations: developing an international instrument and addressing issues of measurement invariance. Journal of public administration research and theory.

  • Vandenabeele, W. (in press). Explaining public service motivation : the role of leadership and basic needs satisfaction. Review of public personnel administration

  • Brewer, G. A., Ritz, A. and Vandenabeele, W. (eds) (2012). Symposium on public service motivation : an international sampling of research. International journal of public administration. 35 (1)

  • Vandenabeele, W. (2011). Who wants to deliver public service ? Do institutional antecedents of public service motivation provide an answer?. Review of public personnel administration. 31 (1) : 87-107

  • Kim, S. & Vandenabeele W. (2010) A strategy for building public service motivation research Internationally. Public administration review. 70 (5) : 701-709

  • Vandenabeele, W. (2009). The mediating effect of job satisfaction and organizational commitment on self-reported performance : more robust evidence of the PSM-performance relationship. International review of administrative sciences. 75 (1) : 11-34

  • Perry, J. L. and Vandenabeele, W. (2008). The behavioral dynamics of public service motivation. In : Perry, J. L. and Hondeghem A. (Eds). Motivation in public management : the call of public service. pp. 56-79. Oxford: Oxford University Press

  • Vandenabeele, W. (2008). Government calling: public service motivation as an element in selecting government as an employer of choice. Public administration. 86 (4) : 1089–1105

  • Vandenabeele, W. (2008). Development of a public service motivation scale: corroborating and extending Perry’s measurement instrument. International public management journal. 11 (1) : 143-167

  • Vandenabeele, W. (2007). Toward a theory of public service motivation : an institutional approach. Public Management Review. 9 (4) : 545-556

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Completed projects

Taking the measure of public service motivation : validating a measurement instrument from an international and cross-sectoral perspective 15.02.2012 to 14.02.2015
General project description
Public employee are to a substantial extent motivated by the contribution they make to society. This study investigates how we can measure this and compares the measurement characteristics between various sub-sectors and countries. 
Role PhD Supervisor & Researcher Funding
NWO grant
Project members UU
Refining Public Service Motivation Theory: The Mediating Roles of Person-Job and Person-Organization Fits in Individual Performance 01.02.2011 to 31.01.2015
General project description
Public service motivation (PSM), the motivation to serve the public good, is an important factor in the performance of public organizations. However, the relationship between an individual’s PSM and performance is unclear. Moreover, the importance of PSM for the various occupational groups in the public sector is also uncertain. We propose to study whether person-job and person-organization fits mediate the relationship between PSM and performance for several occupational groups in the public sector. The proposed study aims at filling gaps in the knowledge on the relationship between PSM and performance. A quantitative research design is proposed to test hypotheses. 
Role Co-promotor Funding
NWO grant
Project members UU

The research of Wouter Vandenabeele concerns motivation of public servants - and public service motivation in particular - and how this motivation affects the behavior of public servants and human resources management in general.

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  • Seminar and thesis Management of Human Resources (3 Bachelor Management and Organization)
  • Seminar and thesis Strategic Human Resources Management (Master Strategic HRM)
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Additional functions and activities
  • Member of the editorial board of Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory
  • Member of the editorial board of Public Personnel Management
  • Member of the editorial board of Korean Policy Science Review
  • Member of the editorial board of Vlaams Tijdschrift voor Overheidsmanagement (VTOM)
  • Member of the Academic Advisory Board Securex
  • Member of the executive board of IRSPM
  • Treasurer of IRSPM
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Full name
Dr. W.V. Vandenabeele Contact details

Bijlhouwerstraat 6
Room 0.19
The Netherlands

Phone number (direct) +31 30 253 1987
Phone number (department) +31 30 253 8101
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Last updated 06.02.2018