Public Organization Review

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 77–107 | Cite as

The Rhetoric and Reality of Public-Private Partnerships

  • Roger Wettenhall


“Public-private partnership” (or “PPP”) is now a very-fashionable concept in discourse about public sector management. For many, following a British lead, it focuses on attracting private financing for public projects. However there are several other forms of public-private mix that are also often described as partnerships, and some of them are not nearly so new. This article notes that several nodes of interest have developed to explore these mixes/partnerships, and raises some questions about them. We should consider whether all such mixes can properly be described as partnerships. Also we need to know more about their long history, to investigate the possibility of developing a classificatory system to help us better understand the various forms, and to consider what conditions are necessary for successful mixing or partnering, in particular for protecting the public interest at a time when market forces exercise great power.

public-private mixes partnerships blurred sectoral boundaries state-market-civil society 


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger Wettenhall
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Research in Public Sector ManagementUniversity of CanberraAustralia

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