These two terms are often used interchangeably – but they are different.  Here I am not concerned with technical differences – but with philosophical or attitudinal differences.

Organisations that pride themselves on being efficient usually strive to achieve the same performance with fewer resources – doing the same with less.

Conversely, organisations that aim to be highly productive usually strive to do more with the same resources -doing more with the same.  They concentrate on the ‘top line’ (of the productivity ratio) – and the ‘bottom line’ takes care of itself.