Table 1

Theoretical distinction of sectors

For-profit sectorPublic sectorThird sector
DefinitionOrganisations that are privately owned and administered according to the pursuit of profits.Organisations that are publically owned and administered.Organisations that are formally structured, privately owned, non-profit distributing, self-governing and benefiting from voluntary activities.42
Primary activitiesConventionally private goods, but increasingly also public goodsPublic goodsPublic goods
Main type of incomeProfits from sales of products and/or servicesTaxationCharitable contributions and/or commissioning
Purpose/motivationMaximise and sustain profitsAchieve social mission (public sector motivation/social value)Achieve social mission and accountability (social value)