Chapter 15: Entrepreneurship in public organizations
Edited by Daniel Hjorth
In much of the public and policy discussions, entrepreneurship and the public sector are opposed as contradictory terms. The public sector, its organizations and public sector employees are framed as bureaucratic and in need of change in many dimensions. Bureaucracy has come to mean ineffi ciency, rigidity, a formal way of handling issues and an organizational life that resembles ‘still water’.1 Entrepreneurship has been seen as the reverse image of the public sector; indeed, entrepreneurship is often framed as a synonym for the innovative free spirit, the manifestation of free markets and a ‘natural’ outcome of the creative destruction. The public sector ‘discourages entrepreneurs’ states Wickham (2008: 162) in a book frequently used by students studying entrepreneurship. ‘First, the public sector must be paid for, and that means taxation. High levels of taxation are likely to demotivate entrepreneurship. Second, if the public sector is delivering service (over which it usually claims monopoly rights) then the entrepreneurs are crowded out.’ Therefore, it is no surprise that entrepreneurship and the public sector are seen as far from each other as possibly can be. It could be argued that it was fi rst through the growth of entrepreneurial studies as an upsurge of the disciplinary fi eld of entrepreneurship, coinciding with developments in the global economies, that the public sector and entrepreneurship became closer; if not in acts, more so in speech.
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