In the article under review, Hoogenboezem and Hoogenboezem (2005) discuss the introduction of performance measurement in the Dutch Police service since 2002. This phenomenon followed radical changes in Dutch political organization largely precipitated by the rise of politician Pim Fortuyn who had government performance on top of his political agenda. The Dutch government, like most of its Western counterparts had been cited for underperformance with regards to public service delivery. The government had frequently shifted this blame on non-performance of its civil servants. This was taken as a key political agenda in the run up to the 2002 elections in the Netherlands. Fortuyn’s argument was that government had refused to exercise control by holding public sector managers accountable and setting targets for them.
The authors examine the Dutch political system. Traditionally, the system has thrived on consensus building. This had affected efficiency in performance within the public sector which gave rise to a ‘’political attention for performance measurement’’ (2005:571). They also investigate the collapse of the Dutch pillars of society, the nature of policing and the community policing approach in the Netherlands and conclude that performance measurement will eventually become ineffective as a performance enhancing instrument. This they ascribe to the fact that the whole process of targeting in the Dutch Police administration does not have a firm philosophical base. It is based on loose arguments of a loud politician and an electorate that wanted change at all cost. Importing management practices like performance targeting from the private sector to the public sector comes with complexities (Adcroft and Willis, 2005). This is manifest in the struggle to cope with targets by the Dutch Police.
Effect of Targets on Performance Measurement
The consequence of the political...