Student Perspectives: What is the Public Sector?

EKU Online > Student Perspectives: What is the Public Sector?

Eastern Kentucky University’s master of public administration program introduces students to a number of important concepts and fundamental theories that public administrators use in their day-to-day career. One of the more interesting theories presented is the fundamental difference between public sector administration and private sector administration.

Profit vs. Non-profit

It is important for aspiring public sector administrators to understand these differences. One of the most fundamental differences between public and private sector administration is the focus of profit vs non-profit.

In the private sector, goals commonly align with the idea of generating more revenue for the organization. Companies often do this by focusing on reducing cost while maximizing operational profits. On the other side of this, public sector administrative efforts are typically focused on efficiency and the reduction of accrued cost within the organization’s operational limits.

Difference in Constituents

Another difference between these two sectors is their constituents. The private sector tries to appease individual shareholders, while public sector managers have a number of different audiences that they must work to appease. These audiences include taxpayers, legislatures, and the employees within the organization itself.

Unlike major corporations or other private sector organizations, the public sector has the responsibility of maintaining a preferable public image and consumer satisfaction. They are accountable in their actions directly to the taxpayers who most often fund the operations.

These factors all play important roles in the day-to-day operations of both the public and private sector. It is evident through these differences that managers of these sectors have different worries, goals, and responsibilities. There is a possibility for skills from one to be transferred to the other, however, we often find that in a certain sense, we have to change our mindsets between the two in a fundamental way.

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By: Rider Cveticanin, EKU MPA Student

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