Public Organization Review

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 219–245 | Cite as

Exploring Types of Public Sector Organizations: Past Exercises and Current Issues

  • Roger Wettenhall


Classification is important generally as an aid to better understanding of complex phenomena. In the context of public sector understanding and reform, it should have added importance as a guide to policy makers and reformers. There have been some notable efforts to classify public sector organizations, mostly built on interactions between analysts and the reformers themselves. One such mid-20th century exercise postulated a division of public sector organizations into three categories: departments, local governments, and “the rest” embracing a mass of quasi-autonomous agencies. The developments of the later 20th century, often associated with changing views about the role of the state, have increased the complexity of this third category and have imposed new pressures on our understandings, with the result that there is now a renewed interest in classification issues.

public sector organizational types classification 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger Wettenhall
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Research in Public Sector ManagementUniversity of CanberraUSA

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