Deconstructing Public Enterprise

  • Judith Clifton
  • Francisco Comín
  • Daniel Díaz Fuentes


The original reasons for setting up public enterprises or nationalising private companies have tended to be forgotten or distorted over time.1 There are several explanations for this. From the point of view of business practice, directors and managers of some public enterprises and agencies tend to adopt an inward-looking perspective. This is based on the conviction that their businesses have ‘unique characteristics’ in the supply of all kinds of goods or services for the public interest, from national defence and security to transportation and communications.2 In underlining their difference, they prefer not be analysed as common profit-maximising private enterprises subject to the rule of competitive markets and would rather be perceived as ‘special cases’ at the national or sectoral level. On occasions, this strategy of differentiation has worked, and they are regulated by industry-specific frameworks and receive other special Governmental treatment.3 However, this inward-looking perception has not helped the development of a common vision of public enterprises.


Private Company Private Enterprise Public Enterprise Public Ownership Railway System 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith Clifton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Francisco Comín
    • 3
  • Daniel Díaz Fuentes
    • 4
  1. 1.Universidad de OviedoSpain
  2. 2.Open University and University of LeedsUK
  3. 3.Universidad de Alcalá de HenaresSpain
  4. 4.Universidad de CantabriaSpain

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