Title: Public sector performance improvement through private sector management practices: a satisfactory solution?

Authors: Abby Ghobadian, David Gallear, Howard Viney, Nicholas O'Regan

Addresses: Henley Management College, Greenlands Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 3AU, UK. ' Brunel Business School, Brunel University, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, UK. ' The Open University Business School, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK. ' Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK

Abstract: This paper examines the assumption that the injection of market discipline and private sector management practices will result in the transformation of public services. The present UK government looks for an opportunity to achieve synergy between the public and private sectors to improve the public service at lower public cost. However, the different cultural values and expectations of each sector and the competing demands of various stakeholder groups involved, present real hurdles for the achievement of performance improvement. This paper examines the Labour Government|s attempts to modernise public services to establish the current context of the debate. This paper then presents the key differences between the public and private sector organisations and examines why private sector management practices may not in fact result in the transformation of public services. This paper suggests that, rather than imposing private sector management practices on the public sector, new approaches should be crafted to guide the development of solutions, which are fit for their specific purpose. A few potential alternative options that should be considered are presented.

Keywords: public sector performance; private sector management; performance improvement; modernisation; compulsory competitive tendering; CCT; management practices; public services; UK; United Kingdom; cultural values; expectations; competing demands; New Labour; Labour government; public service transformation; fit for purpose.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBPM.2007.013360

International Journal of Business Performance Management, 2007 Vol.9 No.4, pp.363 - 379

Published online: 23 Apr 2007 *

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