Nonmission–Based Values in Results–Oriented Public Management: The Case of Freedom of Information



Since the 1940s, Congress and the federal courts have sought to make U.S. federal administration more responsive to democratic–constitutional values, including representation, participation, transparency, and individual rights. As manifested in the National Performance Review, the New Public Management emphasis on results may reduce attention to these values, which for most agencies are not intrinsically mission–based. Freedom of information illustrates the problem of protecting nonmission–based, democratic–constitutional values in results–oriented public management. Agencies’ annual performance plans under the Government Performance and Results Act overwhelmingly ignore freedom of information, even though it is a legal requirement and performance measures for it are readily available. This study concludes that focusing on results may weaken commitment to democratic–constitutional values by default. It suggests that using a balanced scorecard approach in performance plans could enhance attention to freedom of information and other democratic–constitutional values.