Determining Managerial Strategies in the Public Sector: What Kind of People Enter the Public and Private Sectors? An Updated Comparison of Perceptions, Stereotypes, and Values

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1982


John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


The article presents a comparison of the perceptions of public and business employees. Many studies over the years have compared public sector employment with private sector employment. Within each sector strong negative stereotypes are generally expressed about counterparts in the other sector. Employees in each sector feel that while their jobs are difficult and important but at the same time feel that their counterparts in the other sector have it quite easy. Such beliefs have important social consequences. The negative stereotypes of government employees persists despite the evidence from several recent studies that there are no significant differences between managers in the public and private sectors on such critical dimensions as leadership styles, ability, personality role ambiguity and conflict, motivational orientation, work patterns or job characteristics. Other major source of potential differences between public and private sector management is in terms of situational, environmental, and organizational distinctions. The impact of the work environment as a contributing factor to public versus private sector employment choices, attitudes, and managerial strategies continues to warrant investigation.