Does Involvement in Performance Management Routines Encourage Performance Information Use? Evaluating GPRA and PART


Donald P. Moynihan is professor in the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His research examines performance management, homeland security, election administration, and employee behavior. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, the author of The Dynamics of Performance Management (Georgetown University Press, 2008), and the winner of the best book award from the Academy of Management's Public and Nonprofit Division in 2009.

Stéphane Lavertu is assistant professor in the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. His research examines the design and policy-making authority of federal agencies, the implementation of performance management reforms, the impact of deadlines on agency rulemaking, the role of federal advisory committees in executive branch policy making, and the impact of school choice on K–12 education.


The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 and the George W. Bush administration’s Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) established new routines that were intended to foster performance management practices. Using data from two surveys, the authors find that the involvement of agency employees in GPRA processes and PART reviews generally had little direct effect on performance information use once other factors are accounted for. The main exception is that managerial involvement in GPRA processes and PART reviews is associated with the use of performance data to refine measures and goals. This reflects the limits of government-wide reform efforts that depend on difficult-to-observe bureaucratic behavior. The authors also find that a series of organizational factors—leadership commitment to results, learning routines led by supervisors, the motivational nature of the task, and the ability to link measures to actions—are positive predictors of performance information use.