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Performance Information in the Public Sector: How it is Used


Combining practical experience with academic analysis, this book explores the social and organizational dynamics of performance indicators. It moves beyond the technicalities of measurement and indicators and looks at how performance information is changing the public sector.

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Combining practical experience with academic analysis, this book explores the social and organizational dynamics of performance indicators. It moves beyond the technicalities of measurement and indicators and looks at how performance information is changing the public sector.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Most social science work on the burgeoning industry of public service performance indicators concentrates on critiques of the validity or reliability of the numbers. But we know much less about how performance numbers are actually used in public sector organizations. This timely book gives us some intriguing answers to that question." —Christopher Hood, Gladstone Professor of Government, University of Oxford, UK 

"Performance has become the public management mantra of our time. For those of us with a particular concern to improve the quality of life for the poor it offers a ray of hope that we might focus our frequently stumbling efforts at public sector reform on a concrete outcome. But at the same time, we sense that there are some risks in this new certainty. Using performance information to inform public sector decisions concerning resource allocation, and to improve efficiency in resource usage is a widely shared goal - but simply measuring performance and then announcing the results can create an illusion of transparency and robust action, while in reality distracting attention from fixing the underlying managerial and political dysfunction. This book has opened a window into the fascinating real world of performance information and its use. It is ideal reading for practitioners and theoreticians as it balances appropriate scepticism with some practical ways forward. It will contribute to practical improvements in public sector policy, and a much-needed and deeper debate on a crucial topic."—Nick Manning, Manager - Public Sector and Governance, Latin America and the Caribbean Region, World Bank, Washington, D.C.

"The editors Van Dooren and Van de Walle have made an important contribution to the literature on the use of performance information in the public sector. The book will primarily be of interest to academics and students of public management, and performance measurement in particular, with much food for thought provided by the material included. There is much in the book of interest to the policy-maker also. All in all, a most welcome addition to the literature."—Richard Boyle, Institute of Public Administration, Dublin, Public Administration vol. 88

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230309128
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 11/8/2011
  • Series: Governance and Public Management Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

WOUTER VAN DOOREN is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and Research Fellow at the Public Management Institute of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.

STEVEN VAN DE WALLE is Associate Professor in the Department of Public Administration, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Using Public Sector Performance Information; S.Van de Walle &W.Van Dooren
Nothing New Under the Sun? Change and Continuity in the 20th Century Performance Movements; W.Van Dooren
Advocacy and Learning: An Interactive-Dialogue Approach to Performance Information Use; D.Moynihan
Performance Information and Performance Steering: Integrated System or Loose Coupling?; P.Lægreid, P.G.Roness &K.Rubecksen
Performance Measurement beyond Instrumental Use; Lancer Julnes
Comparing Performance across Public Sectors; G.Bouckaert &J.Halligan
Hitting the Target and Missing the Point? Developing an Understanding of Organizational Gaming; Z.Radnor
Performance Management Systems: Providing Accountability and Challenging Collaboration; K.G.Denhardt &M.P.Aristigueta
Determinants of Performance Information Utilization in Political Decision Making; J.Askim
UK Parliamentary Scrutiny of Public Service Agreements: A Challenge too Far?; C.Johnson &C.Talbot
Performance Information and Educational Policy Making; Å.Johnsen
Rational, Political and Cultural Uses of Performance Monitors: The Case of the Dutch Urban Policy; Kool
Reporting Public Performance Information: The Promise and Challenges of Citizen Involvement; A.T-K.Ho
Publishing Performance Information: An Illusion of Control?; S.Van de Walle &A.Roberts
Epilogue: The Many Faces of Use; H.Hatry

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