Strategy content and public service organizations

George A. Boyne, Richard M. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

192 Citations (Scopus)


Existing classifications of organizational strategy have limited relevance to public agencies. They confuse strategy processes and strategy content, consist of simplistic taxonomies, and do not take sufficient account of the constraints faced by public organizations. In this article we attempt to remedy these problems by developing a strategy content matrix that comprises two dimensions: strategic stance (the extent to which an organization is a prospector, defender, or reactor) and strategic actions (the relative emphasis on changes in markets, services, revenues, external relationships, and internal characteristics). This matrix is used to generate hypotheses on the strategies that are likely to be pursued by public organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-252
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article was presented at the American Society for Public Administration conference in Phoenix in March 2002. The research is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (Award R000239249). We would like to thank Frederick S. Lane for comments on an earlier draft and the four anonymous JPART referees.


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