Sector imprinting : exploring its impacts on managers' perceived formalized personnel rules, perceived red tape, and current job tenure
Date of Issue2012
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Social phenomena often involve long-term changes, but most organizational studies focusing on sector comparison have not illuminated the decisive role that time plays. I tested “sector imprinting,” the effect that occurs when an individual who has adapted to the norms of one sector, moves to another sector, by using a sample comprised of respondents from both public and nonprofit organizations. I found that in the public sector, individuals switching from business enterprises and nonprofit organizations perceive more formalized personnel rules and red tape than individuals who have not switched sectors. In the nonprofit sector, individuals switching from the government perceive lower levels of formalized rules and red tape as compared to nonswitchers and switchers from the private sector. Although unpleasant rules are critical sources of one’s turnover intention, individuals who switch into the public sector have longer current job tenure than nonswitchers. I argue that the theories of contrast effect, self-persuasion, extrinsic motivation, and public service motivation (PSM) help explain these findings.
The American review of public administration
© 2012 The Author(s).