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Research: Public versus Private Sector Leaders


Comparisons are often made between the public and private sectors. Differences in culture, structure, environment and talent management are usually highlighted. In general, the private sector is used as a 'benchmark' to evaluate the extent to which the public sector has evolved towards what is commonly considered as 'best practice'.

Hudson's European R&D centre used the Business Attitude Questionnaire to analyse the personality characteristics of 1,185 senior leaders in the public and private sectors in Europe. Their results were compared to those of over 64,000 people from the global population. The study report 'Decoding the DNA of Public and Private Sector Leaders' reveals many new findings which will help organisations reflect on the business attitudes that are most desirable in current and future leaders.

Key Study findings:

  • Leaders in the public sector are more focused on creating a long term strategy than on 'winning in the short term'
  • Private sector leaders are essentially focused on the short-term and on quick results
  • Public sector leaders are more inclined to 'control'; private sector leaders to 'believe and trust'
  • Public sector leaders are less optimistic about the outcome of their actions, but they go for a more thoughtful approach
  • In the public sector, women leaders demonstrate a more outspoken profile
  • Younger managers in the private sector get more opportunities and more room for self-development
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