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General Implication of Public Management

The first is greater complexity of public management, due to the larger number of stakeholders. Private managers are answerable only to top management, embodying the firm's proprietors. Public managers must answer not only to their superiors, but to various pressure groups and public opinion at large. A second difference is "permeability," or the degree of influence by external events. Public agencies are less insulated from social and political crosscurrents. A third difference is instability, resulting from political policy changes. An election may drastically alter the demands that the top political leadership imposes on public agencies; private firms are rarely subject to such drastic changes. Finally, public agencies are not subjected to competitive pressures. Thus, four main external differences are identified between public and private management environments (Boyne, 2002, p. 100).

In addition, the same study identifies three internal differences. Public agencies have more bureaucracy; that is, more highly structured organizations. As a byproduct of bureaucracy they have more red tape; that is, their complex structure imposes greater "friction" or delays in taking action or responding to new situations. Finally, public agencies tend to have lower managerial autonomy. Thus, public management is seen as differing from private management in three distinct if related respects (Boyne, 2002, p. 101).

Previous studies, however, have shown little emperical evidence for these presumed differences (Boyne, 2002, pp. 116-17), though the author of the study cited notes that an inadequate research base exists for reaching firm conclusions

(Boyne, 2002, p. 118). Nevertheless, with that proviso, the assumed differences between public and private management do not appear to stand up well to close examination.

The reason is that the presumed differences outlined above are by no means so stark as often believed. In spe...

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General Implication of Public Management. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:48, July 27, 2017, from
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