Sector context and performance: A Comparison of Industrial and Government Research Units

Barry Bozeman, Steve Loveless

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Research comparing public and private organizations has become more common, but questions remain as to whether differences in sector are significant or spurious. The research reported here, based on secondary data from a cross-national study of research units, examines differences in the performance of public and private sector units, controlling for a number of potentially confounding variables. Path analysis is used to ‘factor out “performance differences in public and private sector units. The findings suggest that sector context is not entirely a spurious function of such variables as size and technology, but itself makes a significant contribution to performance differences. It is further concluded that multiple criteria are important when seeking to measure R&D performance by sector. Public sector units appear advantaged with respect to certain activities and private sector ones with respect to others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-235
Number of pages39
JournalAdministration & Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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