Synthesizing State-Owned Enterprises and Public Entrepreneurship

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Despite the importance of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to states all over the world, there is uncertainty among economists, policymakers, managers, and other stakeholders on the reasons for the existence of SOEs, how they act, how their performance should be judged, and the role that the state should play as the owner, as well as issues that SOEs might solve better than private sector enterprises (PSEs). Commentators have thus called for seeking innovative concepts on the proper role, active governance, and scope of these firms, indicating that there is a need for further research on SOEs to synthesize SOEs and public entrepreneurship. This paper (informed by a systematic literature review) responds to these calls for new ideas on SOEs with a particular focus on why SOEs exist, issues with SOEs, how these issues could be mitigated, and the characteristics that these SOEs display in order to synthesize and better understand these enterprises. The paper developed propositions to indicate that its approach to responding to calls to better synthesize SOEs adds value to academic and policymaker observers.