Text Box: CfGF

Public Sector --- Private Sector




Form and Function

Public and Private Sectors


How You can Participate


In order to clarify what we mean by functionality in the public sector it is necessary to make some basic observations about each. Both sectors are organizations that range in size from tiny to gargantuan. Both sectors are comprised of similar components as illustrated below:






As you can see, each sector is comprised of three components.





In both sectors the responsibility of Component 1 is to appropriate funds, articulate what the organization is to do and see that it does it. The significant difference between the public and private sectors is the way decisions get made in component one. There are three ways in which decisions can be made:

A.     Dictate

B.     Consensus

C.     Compromise

In the private sector decisions are generally made by consensus although decisions can be dictated either by someone in the organization or by someone outside the organization. In the public sector decisions are generally made by compromise although decisions might be dictated here as well. To be sure it is easier to manage when the function of an organization is simple. If, for example, the purpose of the organization is to make broom handles then the parameters of success are fairly easily determined. So you would think that organizations in the private sector always have an advantage since they can be more focused. Yet, we do have organizations in the private sector, like Microsoft, where the outcomes are by no means simple. If Microsoft made decisions by compromise, there would probably be a different leader of software design in the world. In fact, it is truly amazing that things get done as well as they do in the public sector given that decisions at the component 1 level tend to be made through compromise. We, at the Center, believe that excellence in the public sector, when it occurs, is a product of the extraordinary nature of the functioning of component 3. For example, When the President of the United States, the Governor of Maine and the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Human Services all said they wanted to double the number of adoptions finalized in a particular year, (a rare form of consensus in government), it was the adoption unit in the DHS office in Lewiston Maine that made it happen. And, they did it again the following year with no additional resources. Therein lies the potential in government, as it is currently structured, that we believe can be actualized.