Public and Private. What are the Basic Differences? . Public/Private. In this segment we look at the underlying differences between the two sectors that should be common to all developed democracies.
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"Public organizations tend to have goals that are difficult to quantify, meaning that it is difficult to measure outcomes. The purpose of a public organization is to provide something in a ‘good way,’ in a ‘proper way,’ or in an ‘efficient way.’ but what is meant by these objectives? There is simply no uniform currency available that may be used to evaluate the objectives. Whereas, there is such a goal (profit) and such a measure (money) in private organizations, there is nothing similar in public organizations.’
Jan-Erik Lane, in Kooiman and Eliassen’s Managing Public Organizations, p.51.
"The difference between private and public management is not that one type of orghanization pursues one, and the other several goals, but that there is a difficulty with the objectives of public organization, their lack of quantifiable measures—their qualitative nature. This makes it extremely diffficult to evaluate the benefits from the public provision of good and services other than simply referring to the costs of the activities. Leadership requires other sources of legitimation than a reference to the costs incurred, but how the demand for the public provision of goods and services to revealed in a rational way?"
While the need for increased government efficiency is real, the notion that there is any significant body of private management practices and skills that can be transferred directly to the public sector…is wrong.
While performance in public management can be improved substantially, an improvement will not come from massive borrowings of private sector skills and understandings.
The effort to develop public management as a field of knowledge should start from the problems faced by practicing public managers.