What is the difference between business administration and public administration?

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stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Probably the major difference between business administration and public administration lies in the difference in the organizations and purposes being administered.

Business administration involves the administering of a business, an entity that, by definition, has been created with the goal of making a profit for its owners or investors or both. Business administration, therefore, focuses on those decisions that will contribute to the realization of this goal: how to obtain resources efficiently and at lowest possible cost; how to produce goods or services and how to market them effectively to identified markets; how to manage personnel so as to support production and distribution while minimizing costs; and so forth.

Public administration, on the other hand, infers administering services for "the public" - that is, all citizens of a community. The goal is to provide services supporting the lifestyle needs and wants of the community, not to make a profit. Public administration is usually financed by taxation, which may increase or decrease with impacts on the amount or type of services that can be provided. Products and services are provided to a much wider market - all citizens - but there still is consideration of how to do so economically and efficiently.

mkoren's profile pic

mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

There is a difference between business administration and public administration. A person who specializes in business administration will focus on the operation of a business. This is often in the private sector. Business administration involves marketing and finance. It may also involve how to make a company more competitive with other businesses and how to increase sales and profits.

A person who specializes in public administration will focus on working in the non-profit sector or in government. Public administration will focus on dealing with public policy. It also will focus on financial management and may involve some application of various laws. A form of public administration that involves the government may involve administering various programs designed to help the citizens of a region or a state. A form of public administration that involves a non-profit group may involve running a charity.

One reason why some people prefer to be involved in public administration instead of business administration is that public administration generally focuses on improving society. It is less focused on profits. Some people find that kind of work more rewarding.


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