Organizational Report Cards: Significant Impact or Much Ado about Nothing?

Authors


Charles K. Coe is a professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at North Carolina State University. His current research focuses on budgeting, financial management, and performance management. E-mail:Charlie_coe@ncsu.edu.

James R. Brunet is an extension assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at North Carolina State University. He is the author of Drug Testing in Law Enforcement: Social Control in the Public Sector (LFB Scholarly Publishing). E-mail:jim_brunet@ncsu.edu.

Abstract

Despite a recent spate of organizational report cards, relatively little is known about their impact on consumers’ choices or public policy. This study identifies 32 report cards that compare government performance across states in a variety of policy domains. These report cards fall into four categories according to their issuer: governments, commercial enterprises, academics, and advocacy groups. Government-generated report cards are directed at improving consumer choice and enhancing service quality. Commercial enterprises seek to increase profits and readership. Academics generally take a value-neutral approach, looking to stimulate public policy debate. Public interest groups, think tanks, and foundations indirectly measure public policy impact by the amount of media attention generated.

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