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Difference Between Public and Private Administration

Administration can be viewed as the act of effectively managing the affairs of a business organisation or state. It implies the optimum use of people, information and other resources of the organisation, in the attainment of the ultimate goal of the company. The administration can be done either by public officials or private individuals. Public administration is a branch of economics that works with service motive. On the other end, private administration works with business intuition.

The public administration differs from the private administration, in three important ways, i.e. the political character, accountability and scope of their activities. Here an article is presented to help you understand the meaning and differences between public and private administration.

Content: Public Administration Vs Private Administration

  1. Comparison Chart
  2. Definition
  3. Key Differences
  4. Conclusion

Comparison Chart

Basis for Comparison Public Administration Private Administration
Meaning Public administration refers to orderly managing the resources, to achieve the purposes established by the government. Private administration is the operation, management and organization of the affairs of the business enterprise.
What is it? It is a political process. It is a business activity.
Operation In governmental set up In non-governmental set up
Approach Bureaucratic Egalitarian
Decision making Pluralistic Monopolistic
Revenue Taxes, fees, duties, etc. Profits
Accountability Accountable to general public Accountable to the owners
Orientation Welfare oriented Profit oriented

Definition of Public Administration

Public Administration is a field of study that is concerned with the systematic application of public policies and programmes formulated by the state. It relates to the administrative functions carried out by the government. It focuses on providing services to the general public, to ensure a good and safe life to people.

It is both a discipline as well as an activity. While as a discipline, it covers all the subjects, i.e. budgeting, planning, organising, controlling, reporting, directing, staffing, etc. As an activity, it performs services like welfare services, social security services, management of government undertaking, regulation of private enterprises, and so on.

In short, public administration is a non-political public bureaucracy that operates within a legal framework. It deals with the objectives of the government, the public interest and laws. All the branches of the government, i.e. executive, legislative and judicial, as well as their relationship with each other, are covered in the public administration. It works on the principles of uniformity, external financial control and service motive.

Definition of Private Administration

Private Administration is defined as management and organisation of private business enterprises. It is an administrative function carried out by the private individuals or a group, to earn a profit. It is a business activity which is non-political in nature. It involves an array of activities like planning, organising, controlling, coordinating and implementation of policies and programs, performed by the management of the organisation.

It works for the economic benefit of the organisation, taking into account the interest of employees and clients or partners as well of the concerned organisation.

Key Differences Between Public and Private Administration

The important points of difference between public and private administration are given below:

  1. The systematic and well-planned management of the affairs of the state to achieve the purposes established by the government is known as Public Administration. The term private administration refers to the operation, management, and organisation of the affairs of the business enterprise.
  2. Public Administration is a political process. On the other hand, the private administration is a business activity.
  3. Public administration takes place in governmental setup, whereas private administration operates in the structure other than the governmental setup.
  4. Public administration follows a bureaucratic approach, while the private administration has an egalitarian approach.
  5. Decision making in public administration is pluralistic, but in private administration, there is monopolistic decisions are taken.
  6. In public administration, the revenue is generated from taxes, fees, duties, penalties and other dues paid by the general public. As opposed to private administration, where profits from operating activities are the major source of revenue.
  7. When it comes to accountability, public officials are accountable to the general public. Unlike, private administration where the employees are accountable to the owners.
  8. Public administration is welfare oriented; it works with service motive. Conversely, the private administration is profit oriented.


Public administration runs in a governmental setting, and that is why it is also known as government administration. On the contrary, the private administration is a business process, hence considered as business administration. Both of them play a crucial role in contributing towards the development of the society in different ways. Moreover, the measurement of performance, progress and results thereof, can be done using different methods.

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