Dimensions of publicness and organizational performance : A review of the evidence

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


Debates about the merits of publicness have dominated the public administration landscape since the foundation of the modern state. The extent of organizational publicness (ownership, funding, and control) has waxed and waned in developed countries: it rose following the postwar settlement and fell under the policies of New Right government and the popularity of the notions of New Public Management. We argue that publicness effects are likely to diminish in the face of organizational and contextual characteristics and that what matters for performance is management and organization. To this end, we examine the evidence base by undertaking a review of academic studies of publicness and organizational performance. The results suggest that publicness makes a difference to efficiency and equity, but the magnitude and direction of this effect varies with the characteristics of the empirical studies. Our findings clearly point toward the need for research that includes all dimensions of publicness, a variety of performance measures, and the moderating effects of management, organization, and external constraints. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Inc. All rights reserved.