Comparing public and private organizations: An Exploratory Analysis of Three Frameworks


Over the past several years, a growing body of research has compared public and private organizations, using a variety of approaches to examine which organizational attributes are shared across sectors and which are primarily sector specific. Although the evidence has yet to resolve the debate over differences between public and private organizations, three underlying conceptual frameworks have emerged: the generic approach, the core approach, and more recently, the dimensional approach. This study compares the relative utility of each framework, using a national sample of public, private, and hybrid research and development laboratories. The findings provide support primarily for the core and dimensional framework, with personnel functions and external outputs better explained by the core approach, and internal resource acquisition functions better explained by the dimensional approach. This article discusses these findings and their implications for future comparative research.

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American Review of Public Administration