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The Other Type of Performance Information: Nonroutine Feedback, Its Relevance and Use



The literature on performance information use explains how public managers deal with mainly quantitative data that are systematically collected and formally reported. This article argues that such a narrow understanding is incomplete, as it excludes all kinds of nonroutine performance information, including verbal, ad hoc, and qualitative feedback. To understand how responsive public managers are to performance feedback, alternative sources of performance information need to be taken into account. A literature review suggests considering two important sources of nonroutine feedback: organizational insiders and relevant external stakeholders. Using survey data from German local government, this article shows that public managers prefer to use nonroutine feedback over routine data from performance reports. Furthermore, a regression analysis indicates that different sources of performance information require different determinants to trigger their use. This finding is essential because it suggests that explanations of performance information use can covary with the information source studied.