Does Performance Management Lead to Better Outcomes? Evidence from the U.S. Public Transit Industry


  • Theodore H. Poister is professor of public management and policy in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. His research focuses primarily on strategic management, performance management, and customer/ stakeholder engagement, on which he has published widely in public management journals. E-mail:

  • Obed Q. Pasha is a public policy doctoral candidate at Georgia State University and Georgia Institute of Technology. His research interests focus on public management and the use of performance management in the public sector. E-mail:

  • Lauren Hamilton Edwards is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Sam Houston State University. Her research interests focus on managing public and nonprofi t organizations, measuring performance, and gender and other diversity issues in the public and nonprofi t sectors. E-mail:


Although performance management processes are widely assumed to be beneficial in improving organizational performance in the public sector, there is insufficient empirical evidence to back this claim. In this article, the authors examine the impact of performance management practices on organizational effectiveness in a particular segment of the public transit industry in the United States. The analysis utilizes original survey data on performance management practices comprising both strategy formulation and performance measurement in 88 small and medium-sized local transit agencies in conjunction with comparative outcome data drawn from the National Transit Database maintained by the Federal Transit Administration. The results provide evidence that more extensive use of performance management practices does in fact contribute to increased effectiveness in this segment of the transit industry.