Updated July 10, 2023
What is the Private Sector?
The term “private sector” refers to the economic segment owned, controlled, and managed by individuals or organizations seeking to make profits. In other words, the entities operating in the private sector are usually free from any state ownership or control.
Nevertheless, sometimes the private sector players collaborate with the public sector players to jointly deliver a service or business venture known as a public-private partnership.
Role of the Private Sector
It plays a key role in the development of an economy. The following are some of the most critical roles:
Important Stakeholders of the Economy
Given its contribution to the national income, the private sector takes a very important position in the economic setup of any country. Besides delivering vital goods and services, it contributes to the government’s tax revenues and facilitates the efficient flow of capital in the economy.
The private sector employs a large (if not the largest) section of society in most economies. This is because it controls many businesses, and these private sector companies can sometimes provide more jobs than the public sector.
A Significant Contributor to the Development
This boosts the process of industrialization and community improvement by bringing in new equipment and technology. In addition, these companies promote the creation of innovative ideas that can potentially modify traditional production methods, resulting in better economic growth and development.
Deliver Goods and Services
This is usually the dominant segment in the delivery of goods and services. It funds the development of human capital, which can be used to produce more and better goods and services that fulfill market demand.
Support Business Diversification
Many firms in the private sector are involved in a variety of businesses. Therefore, the sector allows companies many opportunities to grow and expand into different businesses. In addition, this type of flexibility enables the private sector players to diversify their business operations.
How Does it Work?
A private sector company usually exists either through the privatization of a public sector company or by setting up a new enterprise by individuals. The primary objective is business growth and profit maximization through customer satisfaction. Hence, these companies offer various goods and services at different rates to fulfill customers’ needs and wants. Furthermore, the availability of a large volume of alternatives allows consumers to switch between competitors if one of them fails to perform. Over time, this cut-throat competition has resulted in a fast-paced and performance-driven momentum in the private sector.
Small and privately-owned businesses form a significant part of the private sector in terms of number. The sector has diverse individuals, partners, and groups — from local mom-and-pop stores to large multinational conglomerates. Here are examples of some of the organizations operating in different segments:
- Sole Proprietors: Developers, Designers, Repairmen, Plumbers
- Partnerships: Legal, Dentistry, Tax, Accounting
- Small and Medium-sized Businesses: Retail, Leisure, Food, Legal Services
- Large Multinationals: PepsiCo, Tesla, Apple, Procter & Gamble, Disney
- Professional or Trade Associations: American Management Association, Canadian Institute of Management
- Trade Unions: American Postal Workers Union, British Columbia Teachers’ Federation
Types of Private Sector
This can be classified into three categories: privately owned small and medium-sized businesses, large multinational corporations, and non-profit organizations.
1. Privately Owned Small and Medium-sized Businesses
This segment covers a wide range, from firms with only one employee to companies with up to 500 employees, and constitutes the bulk of the private sector in terms of number. Hence, small and medium businesses create the most economical job opportunities. Its major subcategories include sole proprietorships, partnerships, and privately-owned corporations.
2. Large Multinational Corporations
These are big corporations with an employee strength of more than 500 people. Firms in this category are the most influential and dominant private sector members. They possess considerable influence both on the political as well as the economic communities. Although government agencies can regulate them, they don’t control these companies.
3. Non-profit Organizations
These organizations usually take part in activities that are considered publicly desirable, such as social upliftment, inclusive education, conservation of natural resources, etc. Their main objective is to deliver services that contribute to society’s general good and benefit. While many non-profits are self-sustainable, others require support in the form of financial aid or donations.
Regulation of the Private Sector
In the US, private sector companies are exempted from the registration requirements of the SEC. Instead, these companies are regulated by the Secretary of State. The requirements for registration and disclosure mandated by the Secretary of State usually vary. As a result, these private players often provide very nominal information to the public, which in some cases may include only the general company information and articles of incorporation. Such legislative and regulatory exemptions of the private companies lead to limited public access to the financial information of these entities.
- This refers to the segment of business society run by individuals or firms, not the government. Some of the major types include proprietorships, partnerships, and privately-owned corporations.
- The primary objective is to act in the stakeholders’ best interest and maximize profit.
- These private firms help economic development, employment, business diversification, etc.
This constitutes a very large part of the economy of most free economies, such as the US. It contrasts with the nations with more state control, where the public sector thrives. Although the government can control these players, it can’t regulate the companies legally. Overall, it can be seen that the private sector has established itself, and the trend is likely to continue in the foreseeable future.
This is a guide to Private Sector. We also discuss the definition, roles, working, examples, types, and regulations. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –