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Public and Private Management: What’s the Difference?

Public and Private Management: What’s the Difference? Critics of New Public Management argue that differences between public and private organizations are so great that business practices should not be transferred to the public sector. In this paper the theoretical arguments on the differences between private firms and public agencies are reviewed, and 13 hypotheses are identified on the impact of publicness on organizational environments, goals, structures and managerial values. Evidence from 34 empirical studies of differences between public agencies and private firms is critically evaluated. Only three of the publicness hypotheses are supported by a majority of the empirical studies: public organizations are more bureaucratic, and public managers are less materialistic and have weaker organizational commitment than their private sector counterparts. However, most of the statistical evidence is derived from studies that use narrow measures of publicness and fail to control for other relevant explanatory variables. Whether the existing evidence understates or overstates the distinctiveness of public agencies is therefore unclear. A research agenda and methods are identified for better comparisons of management in public and private organizations. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Management Studies Wiley

Public and Private Management: What’s the Difference?

Journal of Management Studies , Volume 39 (1) – Jan 1, 2002

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0022-2380
eISSN
1467-6486
DOI
10.1111/1467-6486.00284
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Critics of New Public Management argue that differences between public and private organizations are so great that business practices should not be transferred to the public sector. In this paper the theoretical arguments on the differences between private firms and public agencies are reviewed, and 13 hypotheses are identified on the impact of publicness on organizational environments, goals, structures and managerial values. Evidence from 34 empirical studies of differences between public agencies and private firms is critically evaluated. Only three of the publicness hypotheses are supported by a majority of the empirical studies: public organizations are more bureaucratic, and public managers are less materialistic and have weaker organizational commitment than their private sector counterparts. However, most of the statistical evidence is derived from studies that use narrow measures of publicness and fail to control for other relevant explanatory variables. Whether the existing evidence understates or overstates the distinctiveness of public agencies is therefore unclear. A research agenda and methods are identified for better comparisons of management in public and private organizations.

Journal

Journal of Management StudiesWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2002

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