Public-Private Sector Dichotomy in Public Administration

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Both the public sector and the private sector depend on each other to operate efficiently and to serve the interest of the general populace.They therefore work hand in hand to the good of the society.

The distinction between public and private can be seen as one of the “grand dichotomies” of Western thought (Weintraub, 1997: 1). It is also a dichotomy that dominates the field of public administration where it is mostly defined as a binary distinction between the realm of the state and the realm of the market (Weintraub, 1997: 8)

. Both sectors are understood to be driven by different sets of competing and incompatible values (Lane, 1994; Jacobs, 1994). That is why discussions about this version of the public/private dichotomy are preoccupied with questions of how to separate the two domains and the organisations operating within them. This clear-cut distinction between the public and the private sector which originated in economic and liberal thought is now often criticised in public administration for being an oversimplification of reality (Rainey, 1997: 57). Due to various political, social and economic transformation processes, there seems to be a blurring of sectors with the effect that a flotilla of mixed organisational forms has emerged that operate both in the public and the private sector (Rainey, 1997: 58f).

They are seen as having various degrees of publicness (Bozeman, 1987). Not only are public organisations engaged in activities on the market place, there are also private organisations that engage in activities which used to be seen as exclusively public. And although performing of public tasks ‘used to be’ something done within the borders and boundaries of the nation-states, these ‘public tasks’ or in many ways now ‘internationalizing’ and in some ways even ‘globalizing’:

There are private companies that build whole villages, either for specific groups, like...
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