Public and Private Management

Public and Private Management



Public and Private Management

In her article, Public and Private Management: Are They Fundamentally Alike in All Unimportant Respects?, Graham Allison has provided substantial description of what her paper entails. She has briefly explained her topic, significance of her article and its limitations. Allison makes several arguments in her article. In section one; she identifies policy, resource and program management as the three core elements of management (Allison, 2). She argues that these core principles can be used to classify general managerial functions into three groups namely, strategy, management on internal components and management of external constituencies.

In section two, she states that the three core elements of management are similar in private and pubic institutions (Allison, 4). In section three, she argues that the major difference between the two is that processes in public management systems are exposed to higher external scrutiny and audit (Allison, 5). She elaborates this in section four by giving example of two companies. In section five, she argues that there are managerial practices that might be successful in private institutions but turn out to be complete failures in public organizations (Allison, 15). Furthermore, she has stated that position of public administration can be improved by articulating general management functions (Allison, 15).

To support his arguments, the author has compared the similarities and differences between a private and public institution. The private and public institutions that have been given as example include the American Motors and Environmental Protection Agency respectively. Furthermore, she has referred to other studies and articles that support her claims. For example, Allison has cited researches conducted by the Office of Personnel Management and Office of Management and Budget.

Several articles have tried to address issues relating to public administration. However, Allison’s stands out more vividly compared to those written by other authors. This is because it addressed several issues that have been neglected by other articles. Firstly, the author elaborated the functions and importance of management. Furthermore, she has described the similarities and differences between public and private management systems. The aspects that makes this article to stand out among the rest is the way she has elaborated the differences and similarities between private and public management, and stressed the fact that managerial practices might also differ between the two systems. From the article, it was very clear that even though private and public management systems are similar, they should be approached differently. The article is very helpful in that it elaborated why managers in public institutions face more challenges compared to the administrators working in private organizations.

The author has made tremendous effort to make her arguments more convincing. She has referred to studies conducted by very reputable organizations to support her arguments. In addition, she has described the implication of her article on public management. Furthermore, she has provided meaningful insight as to why certain managerial practices that are successful in private systems fail to do the same in public operations. She has also used renowned institutions as examples in her research, hence enabling other people to relate easily with the study. Finally, the author has avoided favoritism regarding the topic. She has provided evidences that support and opposes her arguments. However, the major limitation of the article is that Allison admits that sections of her article have been plagiarized. This makes her study less authentic.


Allison, Graham T. Public and private management: are they fundamentally alike in all unimportant respects? Cambridge, Mass: John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 1980.

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