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

Rhys Andrews* (Corresponding Author), George A. Boyne, Richard M. Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    140 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)i301-i319
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
    Issue numberSuppl. 3
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

    Bibliographical note

    ESRC grant “How Public Management Matters” (RES 062-23-0039).


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