How to Prevent Soft-targeting in Government Performance Management Systems

Monday, December 11th, 2017 - 15:05
It is, therefore, hardly surprising that the preference for “soft-targets” is a near universal phenomenon. Anyone designing a government performance management system (GPMS) must assume we humans have a preference for soft targets. Given this seemingly reasonable assumption about human behavior, the key to designing an effective GPMS lies in creating protocols that tend to create incentives for those covered by the GPMS in such a way that the pursuit of one’s own ‘self-interest’ promotes the desired ‘public interest.’ I have found following design elements to be helpful in this regard.

Insights from New Zealand's "Results" Programme

Monday, March 6th, 2017 - 10:49
Monday, March 6, 2017 (All day)
Nearly three decades ago, New Zealand pioneered government reforms to make individual single-purpose agencies – a “vertical” solution -- more accountable and effective.  While successful, it exacerbated another challenge facing government agencies -- addressing “horizontal” societal problems, i.e., those that span traditional agency boundaries.  So, New Zealand undertook a new round of reform in 2012 to address a handful of persistent societal and economic problem

Does Management By Numbers Work?

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 - 11:50
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 10:46
Dr. Hood, who is a well-respected public management professor, poses this question in a recent article in the Public Administration Review and his answer is:  it depends. He posits that what the numbers are used for -- and the operational culture in the organizations in which they are used -- will influence the effectiveness of any “management by numbers” strategy.

Hitting the Bull’s Eye

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 - 11:22
As people from coast to coast think long and hard about the best performance measures to use, another crucial question often goes under the radar.  How do we know exactly where to set the targets, against which we’ll gauge the degree of success on a particular issue? And how can those targets help focus our attention on a strategic plan for progress?

Target Practice: A Column by Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene

Monday, February 21st, 2011 - 10:37
Of course, targets can be used as incentives or as punitive measures or both. David Mamet’s film, Glengarry Glen Ross, comes immediately to mind as an over-the-top example.  For those who haven’t seen the film, it’s the story of struggling real estate salesmen who are  told that the individual who had the best numbers would win a car; number two would get a set of steak knives and the rest would be fired on the spot.