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"The Interdependence of Private and Public Interests"

Joseph T. Mahoney, Anita M. McGahan, and Christos N. Pitelis


First Author :

Joseph T. Mahoney
Business Administration
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business
1206 S. Sixth Street
350 Wohlers Hall, MC 706
Champaign, IL 61820

Second Author :

Anita M. McGahan
University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management
105 St. George St.
Toronto, ON M5S 3E6

Third Author :

Christos N. Pitelis
Centre for International Business and Management
University of Cambridge, Judge Business School
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1AB
United Kingdom

Abstract :
The predominant focus in research on organizations is either on private or public institutions without consistent consideration of their interdependencies. The emphasis in scholarship on private or public interests has strengthened as disciplinary and professional knowledge has deepened: management scholars, for example, tend to consider the corporation as the unit of analysis, while scholars of public policy in government, public health, social science and education often analyze governmental, multilateral, community and non-profit organizations. This article advocates a partial merging of these research agendas on the grounds that private and public interests cannot be fully understood if they are conceived independently. We review three major areas of activity today in which public and private interests interact in complex ways, and maintain that current theories of organization science can be deployed to understand better these interactions. We also suggest that theories of public-private interaction also require development and describe a concept called “global sustainable value creation,” which may be used to identify organizational and institutional configurations and strategies conducive to worldwide, intertemporal efficiency and value creation. We conclude that scholarship on organizations would advance if private-public interactions were evaluated by the criterion of global sustainable value creation.
Footnotes & Acknowledgements :
We thank the editor Linda Argote, two anonymous reviewers, Don Hambrick, Jeanne Connell, Peter Klein, Yasemin Kor, Cathy Maritan, Mike Prietula, Annalisa Savaresi and Deepak Somaya for helpful comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of the paper. The usual disclaimer applies.
Manuscript Received : 2008
Manuscript Published : 2008
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