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Public versus private managers: How public and private managers differ in leadership behavior

by J A Andersen
Public Administration Review ()

Abstract

This article aims to find out whether there are behavioral differences between public and private sector managers. Two groups of public managers (managers of social insurance agencies and public school principals) and a group of private managers (two samples) are investigated. Behavioral dimensions are investigated including leadership style (task, relationship, and change orientation), decision-making style (the functions of sensing, intuition, thinking, and feeling), and motivation profile (achievement, affiliation, and power motivation). An analysis of data from 459 managers in four organizations in Sweden reveal significant differences in behavior between public and private managers. However, no significant differences in leadership behavior are discovered among public managers. Possible explanations for such differences and similarities are explored. © 2010 The American Society for Public Administration.

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