TitleUse and sensemaking of performance measurement information by local government managers
NameCharbonneau, Etienne (author), Holzer, Marc (chair), Riccucci, Norma M. (internal member), Van Ryzin, Gregg G. (internal member), Yang, Kaifeng (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - Newark,
SubjectPublic Adm. (SPAA),
Government productivity--Québec (Province)--Evaluation,
Benchmarking (Management)--Québec (Province),
DescriptionIt has long been taken for granted by researchers that performance data would lead to better informed decisions. Despite the copious literature on performance measurement in the public sector, there is surprisingly very little in the public sector performance measurement literature about what happens once the performance measurement data has been collected. The present research concentrates on (1) the use of performance information, and on (2) a specific facet of use called sensemaking. Akin to interpretation, sensemaking activities are a sub-phase contained between data collection and the taking of actions. The case of the mandatory benchmarking system covering all 1113 municipalities in the province of Quebec, Canada, is used as a background to expand our knowledge on how managers use and make sense of performance information. Using a mixed-method approach, this dissertation answers two questions. First, what are the factors accounting for the uses of performance measurement by municipal managers? Second, when presented with raw performance measurement information, how do local managers decide if their municipality's performance is satisfactory or not? The quantitative data originate from electronic surveys and official performance values for standardized indicators. The qualitative data takes the form of content analysis of comments from managers, and from focus groups of 179 participants representing 100 municipalities and municipal organizations. On the use on performance information, the findings from the qualitative data are that managers perceive that external factors hinder their use of performance indicators, and resent being measured and compared. The findings of the quantitative analyses find that attitudes of managers themselves and performance, and not external factors, account of the uses of performance indicators. On sensemaking, the findings are that managers think more in satisficing than in maximizing terms. They are optimistic in their verdicts. Managers do not think of negative and positive performance in consistent terms, but tend to present their performance in the best possible light. The implications of the findings are, in the absence of official definition of what constitutes positive and negative performance, corrective actions following performance information are unlikely.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references, abstract, and vita.
Noteby Étienne Charbonneau
CollectionGraduate School - Newark Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.