Neil Tambe

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

Why non-profits and government are harder than business

In my time at the Ross School of Business, I've come to believe that it's much harder to run a non-profit or government organization than it is to run a business. One of my professors even brought this up in class, explicitly, yesterday. Here's the basic reason why.

In any organization you have to do two basic things, create value and secure the resources you need to create value. This dynamic looks different across sectors.

In business, you end up creating value for and getting resources from the same people - customers. In non-profits and government the people who fund (or vote for) you and the people you serve are different. This makes non-profit and government management fundamentally more difficult because you have to manage the needs of two groups of people (who have different interests) at the same time.

To reconcile this dissonance in government, you could either get funders/voters to care about the needs of all. Or, you could just get everybody to vote.