Sector perceptions among state-level public managers

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53 Scopus citations


In this article, I investigate whether or not there is variance in public managers' perceptions of worker quality and work life, by sector. Specifically, I investigate whether state-level public managers perceive the public sector or the private sector as having more challenging work and more talented workers, and how those perceptions are conditioned by previous work experience, motivations for taking their current jobs, education, race, and other demographic characteristics. Using multinomial logistical regression of data from the National Administration Studies Project-III survey of managers in Georgia and Illinois, I find that public managers motivated by desires for advancement and public service motivation are more likely to report positive perceptions of the public sector. Managers whose last job was in the private sector, compared to those whose last job was in the public sector, are less likely to respond favorably about the private sector. Increased perceptions of red tape increase the odds of having positive private sector perceptions and having a business degree, compared to another degree, decrease favorable public sector perceptions. These findings are important to understanding the relationships between manager characteristics and sectors perceptions among state-level public managers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-494
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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