How is Public Administration different from Private Management?


How is public administration different from private management? What are the implications of these differences for the public administrator in the areas of: a. Decision Making, b. Human resource management,c. Accountability?

Sample  paper

Public Administration

For decades and centuries, the public administration has been known to deal with the organization of government policies and programs and the conduct of public officials who are responsible for the provision of goods and services to the general public. On the other hand, the private management is an important part of the economic setup in a country that is fully run and controlled by private individuals rather than the government.  This means that the public administration and private management differ on some ideas and levels.  These differences have implications for the manner decisions are made, human resources are managed and how both parties promote accountability in their sectors for the decision-making process. Public administration is often made of a large number of formal processes and procedures that involves red tape (Shafritz, Russell, Borick, & Hyde, 2017).  Therefore, all public officers have to embrace and honor a system of strict rules, procedures, and regulations put in place that remains in force and have a compliance element. A system of strict rules in the public administrations is based on the three arms of administration in the public sector.  These arms of the public administration include the executive, legislative and the judicial arm. Therefore, the rules and regulations developed help in monitoring and controlling the power of each arm of the administration, which in turn prevents abuse of power by either of the arms of public administration. On the other hand, all authority and powers in the private management often rest on the shoulders of one individual, unlike the public administration (Chinyio & Gameson, 2009).

Another major difference between the two concepts is the fact that the public administration is focused on the greater good of the people; while the private sector is focused on increasing profits and revenues.  Therefore, most of the decisions and processes made in the public sector regarding the management of human resource, accountability, and decision making are aimed at improving the lives and living standards of all the people in a region regardless of their economic status.  However, the private management is aimed at the lives and well-being of few individuals making it easy for the managers to control all the decision-making process, management of resources and transparency in their organizations. Notably, duties and responsibilities in the public administration are equally divided among the three arms which makes it difficult at times to keep track of all the decision making processes, management of resources and accountability in the public sector (Stitzlein, 2017).  Another important area of variance is the decision-making process.  The implications in the public sector is an entire decision-making process that must be followed to pass or change legislation. Notably, organizational decision making consists of choosing to alter some current condition, choosing one way of doing things in preference to others, while at the same time expending some amount of the organizational resources to executing the decision, and monitoring the success of the decisions made (Shafritz, Russell, Borick, & Hyde, 2017).

In private management, decisions are typically made by the organizational leader. The Human Resource implications for the public administration include the managers’ focus on maximizing the value of the respective agency.  However, in the private sector managers are looking to maximize shareholders’ demands.  This can also be said for private sector employees; their value is placed on the economic rewards they receive for doing a job well done.  As opposed to the public sector employee whom achieves satisfaction and value of a task being completed (Preston & Post, 2013). Understanding the differences in public administration versus private management is beneficial to facilitate better and transfer management practices between the two sectors. Moreover, The implication of accountability in the private sector is managed by the shareholders.  Within the public sector, there is a concept called checks and balances .


Chinyio, E., & Gameson, R. (2009). Private Finance Initiative in Use. Policy, Finance & Management for Public-Private Partnerships, 1-26. doi:10.1002/9781444301427.ch1

Preston, L. E., & Post, J. E. (2013). Private management and public policy: The principle of public responsibility.

Shafritz, J. M., Russell, E. W., Borick, C. P., & Hyde, A. C. (2017). Introducing Public Administration. Milton: Taylor and Francis.

Stitzlein, S. M. (2017). Accountability, the Public, and Public Schools. Oxford Scholarship Online. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190657383.003.0002