A framework for analysing differences between public-sector and other-sector projects


Objectives: The purpose of this paper is to create a model of public-sector and other-sector projects.

Research Design & Methods: An extensive review of literature was performed. The snowball approach was applied for collecting relevant papers. Models of differences between public-sector organisations and other organisations were chosen as the reference models for building a model for project level.

Findings: There are differences between managerial processes between public-sector and other-sector projects in all project management areas (integration management, scope management, cost management, schedule management, quality management, hr management, communications management, risk management, procurement management, and stakeholder management).  Hence the most adequate model for explaining these differences is the dimensional model.

Implications / Recommendations: Project managers will be able to better align their managerial methods to the sector in which project are implemented. For instance, in public-sector projects in the area of HR management motivation should be more focused on non-financial factors.

Contribution / Value Added: The proposed model is the first, original, comprehensive model describing the differences between public-sector and other-sector projects.


Project management; public sector; dimensional model; inter-sectorial differences

Aubry, M., Richer, M-C., Lavoie-Tremblay, M. & Cyr , G. (2011). Pluralism in PMO performance: The case of a PMO dedicated to a major organisational transformation. Project Management Journal, 42(6), 60–77.
Bageis, A.S. & Fortune, C. (2009). Factors affecting the bid/no bid decision in the Saudi Arabian construction contractors. Construction Management and Economics, 27(1), 53–71.
Barkley, B.T. (2011). Government Program Management. New York: McGraw Hill.
Bourne, L. & Walker, D.H.T. (2008). Project relationship management and the Stakeholder Circle™. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 1(1), 125–130.
Boyne, G.A. (1998). Public Choice Theory and Local Government: A Comparative Analysis of the UK and USA. London: Macmillan.
Bozeman, B. & Bretschneider, S. (1994). The “publicness puzzle” in organization theory: A test of alternative explanations of differences between public and private organizations. Journal of Public Administration
Research and Theory, 4(2), 197–223.
Bozeman, B. & Kingsley G. (1998). Risk culture in public and private organizations. Public Administration Review, 58(2), 109–118.
Bozeman, B., Reed, P.N. & Scott, P. (1992). Red tape and task delays in public and private organizations. Administration and Society, 24(3), 290–322.
Bretschneider, S. (1990). Management information systems in public and private organizations: An empirical test. Public Administration Review, 50(5), 536–545.
Buelens, M. & Van den Broeck, H. (2007). An analysis of differences in work motivation between public and private sector organizations. Public Administration Review, 67(1), 65–74.
Cats-Baril, W. & Thompson, R. (1995). Managing information technology projects in the public sector. Public Administration Review, 55(6), 559–566.
Chou, J-S. & Yang. J.-G. (2012). Project management knowledge and effects on construction project outcomes: An empirical study. Project Management Journal, 43(5), 47–67.
Cochran, C.L. & Malone, E.F. (1995). Public Policy: Perspectives and Choices. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Congreso de la Nacion Argentina (1994). Ley 24.354. Sistema Nacional de Inversiones Públicas. Buenos Aires: Congreso de la Nacion Argentina.
Connell, A.M. (2010). Policy success, policy failure and grey areas in-between. Journal of Public Policy, 30(3), 345–362.
Coster, C.J. & van Wijk, S. (2015). Lean Project Management: An Exploratory Research into Lean Project Management in the Swedish Public and Private Sector. Umeå School of Business and Economics. Retrieved from http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A850350&dswid=9324.
Daft, R.L. (2010). Management, Ninth Edition. Mason, OH, USA: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Damm, D. & Schindler, M. (2002). Security issues of a knowledge medium for distributed project work. International Journal of Project Management, 20(1), 30–47.
Dilts, D.M. & Pence, K.R. (2006). Impact of role in the decision to fail: An exploratory study of terminated projects. Journal of Operations Management, 24(4), 378–396.
Drew, D. & Skitmore, M. (1997). The effect of contract type and size on competitiveness in bidding. Construction Management and Economics, 15(5), 469–489.
Duffield, S.M. & Whitty, S.J. (2016). Application of the systemic lessons learned knowledge model for organisational learning through projects. International Journal of Project Management, 34(6), 1280–1293.
Eden, C., Ackerman, F. & Williams, T. (2005). The amoebic growth of project costs. Project Management Journal, 36(2), 15–27.
EHI (2002). New Director General of NHS IT Appointed. EHI eHealth Insider, 05.09.2002. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20110927170626/http://www.e-health-insider.com/news/item.cfm?ID=257.
Faridian, P.H. (2015). Innovation in public management: Is public e-procurement a wave of the future? A theoretical and exploratory analysis. International Journal of Public Administration, 38(9), 654–662.
Fottler, M.D. (1981). Is management really generic? Academy of Management Review, 6(1), 1–12.
Fu, H.-P. & Ou, J.-R. (2013). Combining PCA with DEA to improve the evaluation of project performance data: A Taiwanese Bureau of Energy case study. Project Management Journal, 44(1), 94–106.
George, J.M. & Jones, G.R. (2012). Understanding and Managing Organizational Behavior. Sixth Edition. Boston, USA: Prentice Hall.
Gomes, C.F., Yasin, M.M. & Small, M.H. (2012). Discerning interrelationships among the knowledge, competencies, and roles of project managers in the planning and implementation of publicsector projects. International Journal of Public Administration, 35(5), 315–328.
GSA, DoD & NASA (2005). Federal Acquisition Regulation. Washington: General Services Administration, Department of Defense, National Aero nautics and Space Administration.
Hasty, B.K., Schechtman G.M. & Killaly, M. (2012). Cloud computing: Differences in public and private sector concerns. International Journal of the Academic Business World, 1(1), 51–62.
Helm, J. & Remington K. (2005). Effective project sponsorship. An evaluation of the role of the executive sponsor in complex infrastructure projects by senior project managers. Project Management Journal, 6(2), 51–61.
Hobbs, B. & Aubry, M. (2008). An empirically grounded search for a typology of project management Office. Project Management Journal, 39(S1), 69–82.
Holt, G.D., Olomolaiye, P.O. & Harris, F.C. (1995) A review of contractor selection practice in the U.K. construction industry. Building and Environment, 30(4), 553–561.
Hvidman, U. & Andersen, S.C. (2014). Impact of performance management in public and private organizations. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 24, 35–58.
Hwang, B.G., Zhao, X. & Ng, S.Y. (2013). Identifying the critical factors affecting schedule performance of public housing project. Habitat International, 38, 214–221.
Jurkiewicz, C.L., Massey, T.K. Jr. & Brown, R. G. (1998). Motivation in public and private organizations: A comparative study. Public Productivity & Management Review, 21(3), 230–250.
Kassel, D.S. (2010). Managing Public-sector Projects: A Strategic Framework for Success in an Era of Downsized Government. Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press.
Kim, S.E. & Lee J.W. (2009). The impact of management capacity on government innovation in Korea: an empirical study. International Public Management Journal, 12(3), 345–369.
Kwak, Y.H., Liu, M., Patanakul, P., Zwikael, O. & Allison, G.T. (2014). Challenges & Best Practices of Managing Government Projects & Programs. Newtown Square, USA: Project Management Institute, Inc.
Kwak, Y.H. & Smith, B.M. (2009). Managing risks in mega defense acquisition projects: Performance, policy, and opportunities. International Journal of Project Management, 27, 812–820.
Lane, J-E. (2000). The Public Sector. Concepts, Models and Approaches. London: Sage.
Ling, F.Y.Y., Ning, Y., Ke, Y. & Kumaraswamy, M.M. (2013). Modeling relational transaction and relationship quality among team members in public projects in Hong Kong. Automation in Construction, 36, 16–24.
Lundin, R.A. & Soderholm, A. (1995). A theory of the temporary organization. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 11(4), 437–455.
Male, S., Kelly, J., Gronqvist, M. & Graham, D. (2007). Managing value as a management style for project. International Journal of Project Management, 25, 107–114.
Meier, K.J. & O’Toole Jr., L.J. (2011). Comparing public and private management: Theoretical expectations. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 21, 283–297.
Mihăescu, Ch. & Ţapardel, A.-C. (2013). A public administration based on project management. Administration and Public Management, 20, 97–107.
Mouly, S.V. & Sankaran, J.K. (2007). Public- versus private-sector research and development: A comparative analysis of two Indian R&D project groups. International Studies of Management and Organization, 37(1), 80–102.
Ning, Y. (2014). Quantitative effects of drivers and barriers on networking strategies in public construction projects. International Journal of Project Management, 32, 286–297.
O’Dowd, A. & Cross, M. (2007). Richard Granger resigns as chief executive of Connecting for Health. BMJ, 334(7607), 1290–1291.
O’Leary, T. & Williams, T. (2008). Making a difference? Evaluating an innovative approach to the project management Centre of Excellence in a UK Government department. International Journal of Project Management, 26(5), 556–565.
OGC (2005). Managing Successful Projects with Prince 2 ©. Londo n: TSO.
OGC (2007). The OGC Gateway™ Process. A manager’s checklist. London: TSO.
Pandey, S.K. & Garnett, J.L. (2006). Exploring publicsector communication performance: Testing a model and drawing implications. Public Administration Review, 66(1), 37–51.
Patanakul, P. (2014). Managing large-scale IS/IT projects in the public-sector: Problems and causes leading to poor performance. Journal of High Technology Management Research, 25, 21–35.
Peled, M. & Dvir, D. (2012). Towards a contingent approach of customer involvement in defence projects: An exploratory study. International Journal of Project Management, 30, 317–328.
PMI (2013). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition. Newtown Square, USA: Project Management Institute.
PMI (2013a). The Standard for Portfolio Management Third Edition. Newtown Square, USA: Project Management Institute.
PMI (2013b). The Standard for Program Management Third Edition. Newtown Square, USA: Project Management Institute.
Pūlmanis, E. (2015). Micro-economical aspects of public projects: Impact factors for project efficiency and sustainability. PM World Journal, 4(6), 1–12.
Rahman, M.M. & Kumaraswamy, M.M. (2004). Contracting relationship trends and transitions. Journal of Management in Engineering, 20(4), 147–161.
Rainey, H.G. (2014). Understanding and Managing Public Organizations, 5th Edition. San Francisco, USA: Jossey- Bass.
Rainey, H.G. & Bozeman, B. (2000). Comparing public and private organizations: Empirical research and the power of the a priori. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 10(2), 447–469.
Rainey, H.G., Traut C. & Blunt, B. (1986). Reward expectancies and other work-related attitudes in public and private organizations: A review and extension. Review of Public Personnel Administration, 6(3), 50–72.
Ramos, P., Mota, C. & Correa, L. (2016) Exploring the management style of Brazilian project managers. International Journal of Project Management, 34(6), 902–913.
Reich, B.H. (2007). Managing knowledge and learning in IT Projects: A conceptual framework and guidelines for practice. International Journal of Project Management, 38(2), 5–17.
Rosacker, K.M. & Rosacker, R.E. (2010). Information technology project management within the public-sector organizations. Journal of Enterprise Information Management, 23(5), 587–594.
Rose, K.H. (2006). Cover to cover: Government extension to a guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Third Edition. Project Management Journal, 37(4).
Savelsberg, Ch.M.J.H., Havermans, L. & Storm, P. (2016). Development paths of project managers: What and how do project managers learn from their experiences. International Journal of Project Management, 34(4), 559–569.
Scott, P.G. & Falcone, S. (1998). Comparing public and private organizations. An exploratory analysis of three frameworks. American Review of Public Administration, 28(2), 126–145.
Shen, L.Y., Li, Q.M., Drew, D. & Shen, Q.P. (2004). Awarding construction contracts on multicriteria basis in China. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 130(3), 385–393.
Skulmoski, G.J. & Hartman, F.T. (2010). Information systems project manager soft competencies: A project-phase investigation. Project Management Journal, 41(1), 61–80.
Spicker, P. (2009). The nature of a public service. International Journal of Public Administration, 32(11), 970–991.
Spittler, J.R. & McCracken, C.J. (1996). Effective project management in bureaucracies. Transactions of AACE International, 6(1), PM 6–1–PM 6–10.
Subramanian, S. & Kruthika, J. (2012). Comparison between public and private sector executives on key psychological aspects. Journal of Organisation and Human Behaviour, 1(1), 27–35.
Tabish, S.Z.S. & Jha, K.N. (2011). Identification and evaluation of success factors for public construction project. Construction Management and Economics, 29, 809–823.
Torres, L. & Pina V. (2004). Reshaping public administration: The Spanish experience compared to the UK. Public Administration, 82(2), 445–464.
Turner, R., Huemann, M., Anbari, F. & Bredillet, Ch. (2010). Perspectives on Projects. London: Routlege.
UK Government (2013). Major project management. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/major-project-management.
US Congress (1966) The Freedom of Information ACT (FOIA) 5 U.S.C. §. 552. Washington, DC: US Congress.
Wang, Y-D., Yang, Ch. & Wang, K.-Y. (2012). Comparing public and private employees’ job satisfaction and turnover. Public Personnel Management, 41(3), 557–572.
Williams, T., Klakegg, O.J., Walker, D.H.T., Andersen, B. & Magnussen, O.M. (2012). Identifying and acting on early warning signs in complex projects. Project Management Journal, 43(2), 37–53.
Wirick, D. (2009). Public-Sector Project Management: Meeting the Challenges and Achieving Results. New Jersey, USA: John Wiley & Sons.
Wohlin, C. (2014). Guidelines for snowballing in systematic literature studies and a replication in software engineering. Proceedings of EASE Conference, May 2014, London, England.
World Bank (2016). Little Data Book. Washington, USA: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / World Bank.
Zwikael, O. (2009). The relative importance of the PMBOK® Guide’s nine knowledge areas during project planning. Project Management Journal, 40(4), 94–103.

Published : 2018-12-12

Gasik, S. (2018). A framework for analysing differences between public-sector and other-sector projects. Public Governance / Zarządzanie Publiczne, ((45)3), 73-88. https://doi.org/10.15678/ZP.2018.45.3.05

Stanisław Gasik 
Academy of Finance and Banking Vistula  Poland

Academy of Finance and Banking Vistula
ul. Stokłosy 3
02-787 Warszawa


Download data is not yet available.