Responsiveness to Reform Values: The Influence of the Environment on Performance Information Use


  • Donald P. Moynihan is professor of public affairs in the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His research examines public management issues such as performance, red tape, homeland security, election administration, and employee behavior. He is author of The Dynamics of Performance Management: Constructing Information and Reform, which has won awards from the Academy of Management and the American Political Science Association. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. E-mail:

  • Daniel P. Hawes is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Kent State University. His research examines the relationship between public management and public policy performance and outcomes. His substantive interests are in education and immigration policy, as well as issues of diversity, equity, and representation, particularly at the state and local level. E-mail:


Administrative reforms encode a set of behavioral expectations for bureaucrats to follow. The authors argue that scholars can usefully contribute to understanding accountability by studying whether bureaucrats follow these expectations and what factors encourage such responsiveness to reform values. To demonstrate this approach, the authors examine performance infor-mation use as a behavioral measure of responsiveness to results-based reforms. Using a sample of Texas school superintendents, they find that general openness to the environment goes hand in hand with responsiveness to reform values. The authors propose that such a pattern will hold when reform values align with environmental preferences. The perceived influence of stakeholders, networking with stakeholders, and reliance on partnerships all positively predict performance information use. Environments marked by student diversity and stakeholder conflict also correlate with higher use of performance data, while capacity, less managerial experience, and a unified organizational culture correlate positively with higher reported performance information use.