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"Public and Private Administration:A Comparative Analysis"
Public and Private Administration:A Comparative Analysis
Author:
Veronica Gardner
Introduction


Historically in America two different institutional approaches to management science have developed: one in the private sector and one in the public sector. Recently, this conventional taxonomy has been challenged, and around the country there has been emerging a more generic approach to management. In response to this, public administration theorists have developed a new body of literature emphasizing the differences between the two sectors. The central purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between public sector and private sector management within the context of available literature. As such, the key substantive issue discussed here is whether there is an inherent conflict between the rational, private management model with its criteria of economic efficiency and the political public management model with its criteria of consensus and compromise.

A central element of recent reform efforts associated with "reinventing government" is that public organizations should import managerial processes and behavior from the private sector (Box, 1999). In particular, these efforts suggest that public managers should seek to emulate the supposedly successful techniques of their private sector counterparts. Indeed, this formula for public sector success predates recent reform movements, and has been a recurring theme in public policy. For example, the reform movement in American municipal government during the early decades of the twentieth century emphasized the benefits of business-like behavior (Welch and Bledsoe, 1988).

However, the adoption of private sector models has been viewed with much skepticism in the literature on public administration and public management. The core objection is summarized in Sayre's (1953, p. 102) view that public and private organizations are "fundamentally alike in all unimportant respects." This phrase has been given wider currency by Allison who proceeds to argue, "the notion that there is any significant body of private management practices and skills that can be transferred directly to...

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essay on Public and Private Administration:A Comparative Analysis
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02/08/2012
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