The Performance of Public Organizations

Topics: Measurement, Systems of measurement, Quantity Pages: 2 (481 words) Published: February 27, 2014
The performance of public organizations is important for a variety of stakeholders including politicians, citizens, donor agencies and government officials. For more than two decades the implementation of performance measurement systems has been considered a central tenant of public sector reforms to address the concerns of efficiency. Within the literature on performance measurement this concept is limited to applying various techniques for generating performance data and that includes both qualitative and quantitative information (Radnor, 2005). Use of performance measurement as a control and monitoring tool is the main motivation while the use of performance data as a planning tool is less advanced. Cutting red tape, minimizing public waste and enhanced concern for value-for-money are the main drivers of introduction of performance measurement in the public sector. Existing research informs that with respect to the evaluation of benefits of performance measurement three schools of thoughts exist (Johnsen, 2005, p.9): true believers (Osborne & Gaebler, 1993), pragmatic skeptics (Gianakis, 2002, p.37) and those who regard performance measurement with great skepticism (De Bruijn, 2002, p.36).

There is only limited evidence on the determinants of performance in public organizations (Boyne, 2003; O’Toole & Meier, 1999) and existing studies only reflect traditional concerns of organizational processes rather than outputs and outcomes. Though focus on resource utilization is an important variable in measuring public service performance, the focus of practitioners and researchers has shifted from financial inputs to service delivery and performance. This change has opened up important avenues of research for management scholars. Performance measurement in public organizations is complex and multidimensional in nature (Boyne, 2002). The dimensions of performance include measures of output quantity, output quality, efficiency, effectiveness, equity, accountability,...
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