Understanding the changing role of public sector performance measurement in less developed countries

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Abstract

This article develops a framework for understanding changes in the demand for and supply of performance information in public sector organizations in less developed countries (LDCs). New Institutional Sociology (NIS) is used to argue that pressures from specific stakeholders stimulate organizations to produce particular performance information. The article distinguishes three groups of stakeholders (i.e. funding bodies, statutory boards and purchasers), and elaborates on the performance dimensions these stakeholders are interested in. The group of funding bodies, with their interest in financial performance information, used to be the most important group of stakeholders. However, statutory boards and purchasers are gaining importance as a result of recent public sector reforms, which include decentralization, marketization and the implementation of anti-corruption programs. As a consequence of pressures coming from these stakeholders, new performance dimensions, such as the quality and quantity of services and the political governance structure, will be added to organizations' performance measurement (PM) systems. Whether these and other—often more traditional financial—performance dimensions will be balanced and integrated throughout organizations depends on the power positions of the various stakeholders. The arguments presented in this article intend to stimulate public sector organizations in LDCs to design and redesign PM systems as a response to changing stakeholder interests. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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