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Trumpism and Local Government
Trumpism and Local Government

We use the phrase “Trumpism” as a placeholder for a variety of antigovernment forces at the national and local levels that have made it harder and perhaps less satisfying to undertake a public service career. This paper draws from regime theory and institutional theory to explore how public service motivation (PSM) is affected by a combination of institutional autonomy and the community culture or sense of place within which public employees live and undertake their public service work. The framework is used to explain why PSM of 25 local career administrators interviewed for this study has not been adversely impacted by a combination of political attacks on public institutions, legal limitations on taxing and governing authority and larger global forces of change. The article concludes that high levels of institutional autonomy and embeddedness of local governing bodies in the community provide career administrators with greater ability to maintain high levels of autonomous public service identity.  The purpose of this identity differs by gender. Women associate their PSM with building a better community, while men associate their PSM with preserving and perpetuating the principles, structures and processes of democratic governance.

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Written by Sajjad Haider and Douglas F. Morgan