Job Satisfaction in Public and Private Schools: Competition is Key

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Peter Dahler-Larsen, Søren Kjær Foged

Should the public sector become more like the private sector? This is a key question in debates about public management. However, the public/private distinction includes many elements. Two of these are ownership and competition. These aspects are not always sorted out empirically. Another challenge is that dissimilar functional areas are studied which makes it difficult to isolate effects of privatization as such. We respond to these challenges by carrying out an empirical analysis of job satisfaction among teachers who teach Danish to immigrants. The teachers work in comparable schools, carry out the same task, and are subject to the same performance management system, but some of the schools are public, some are private, and some have been subject to competitive tendering. We demonstrate that competition has a greater impact than ownership upon job satisfaction. We also show that one of the key mechanisms which translate competition into reduced job satisfaction relates to changing relations between managers and employees. Advocates and opponents of privatization alike should pay more attention to specific aspects and mechanisms related to privatization, in particular the element of competition.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Volume52
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1084-1105
Number of pages20
ISSN0144-5596
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

First published: 20 June 2017

ID: 179895405