Factors attracting individuals to nonprofit management over public and private sector management

Kelly Leroux, Mary K. Feeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Little research has sought to identify the distinct advantages that nonprofits offer employees, particularly managers. Drawing upon Weisbrod's theory of managerial sorting (1988), we test a series of hypotheses about the differences among nonprofit, public, and for-profit organizations that may explain the preference of managers to work in one sector over the other. We use pooled cross-sectional data from the General Social Survey to test managerial sorting. We find many similarities in the perceptions of managers in the nonprofit and public sectors as compared to the for-profit sector. However, when we examine the sorting of managers into nonprofit versus public sector jobs, we find differences in work environment. Compared to those working in the public sector, managers in nonprofits report greater freedom in deciding how to carry out their job functions, more control over their work schedules, and greater opportunities for pay increases. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of these findings for the practice of nonprofit management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-62
Number of pages20
JournalNonprofit Management and Leadership
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Nonprofit management
  • Public management
  • Sector differences
  • Sorting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management


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