| Peter Klein |
Joe Mahoney, Anita McGahan, Christos Pitelis, and I have written a paper, “Toward a Theory of Public Entrepreneurship,” exploring the application of concepts, theories, and approaches from the entrepreneurship literature to non-market behavior. We argue that governments, government agencies, social enterprises, charitable organizations, and other “public” actors can be described as being alert to opportunities for value creation and capture, exercising judgment over the deployment of resources under uncertainty, introducing technological and organizational innovations, and so on. These actors are, in a sense, “public entrepreneurs.” This characterization also helps highlight critical differences between private and public actors and organizations, differences relating to the definition and measurement of objectives, the ability to evaluate performance, the nature of external governance, and, of course, the role of coercion. The paper is very much an exploratory effort in this area, and we certainly welcome comments and suggestions.
Here’s the abstract:
This paper explores innovation, experimentation, and creativity in the public domain and in the public interest. Researchers in various disciplines have studied public entrepreneurship, but there is little work in management and economics on the nature, incentives, constraints and boundaries of entrepreneurship directed to public ends. We identify a framework for analyzing public entrepreneurship and its relationship to private entrepreneurial behavior. We submit that public and private entrepreneurship share essential features but differ critically regarding the definition and measurement of objectives, the nature of the selection environment, and the opportunities for rent-seeking. We describe four levels of analysis for studying public entrepreneurship, provide examples, and suggest new research directions.