Privatization in the Netherlands

Date of publication: September 1, 1990

Author: Ed Nijssen


In The Netherlands too the current privatization wave is reducing government influence and regulations on public organizations. Forcing these organizations to compete in the market necessitates the development of a more externally oriented culture and structure of these organizations and an extension of their marketing function. This article describes the strategic and organizational problems of Dutch public organizations facing privatization. The information on the actual process of organizational change was gathered via in depth interviews at three such organizations. It can be concluded that it is not so much the loss of the legal monopoly and the related confrontation with competitors that poses a threat to the organizations facing privatization. Given the problem of unlearning yesterday and inventing tomorrow, it is the organizations themselves which constitute a threat to their own existence, as can be clarified via the business-dilemma and the theory of organizational learning. Suggestions on making the appropriate adjustments in case of privatization are made. A thorough program of organizational development is proposed. This includes the introduction of a special policy plan for managing the implementation of the marketing function in case of privatization.

Ed Nijssen


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