Public management and organizational performance: An agenda for research Chapter uri icon


  • © Cambridge University Press 2006 and 2009. Introduction How can public services performance be improved? This question is central to both governmental reform efforts and the academic study of public management. If one leaves aside the possibility of pure dumb luck, effective policy and managerial prescriptions must be built upon a grounding of information – in particular, valid knowledge regarding the correlates of performance. This key step is necessary to both identify variables which can be adjusted to beneficial effect and provide input for policy makers' deliberations. The work in this volume constitutes a systematic effort focused on three key questions entailed by such an objective. First, what are the appropriate ways to measure a public organization's performance? Second, what role does management play in enhancing – or, for that matter, inhibiting – performance? Third, how does the context of programmes and organizations, both political and organizational, create contingencies that enhance or suppress the various determinants of performance? The early parts of the book are organized around the first pair of these questions. The international comparisons sketched in the last part of the volume contribute directly to the third point, but most of the chapters also touch upon it. Much credible work has been reported by the authors represented here and numerous insights regarding all three questions can be garnered from the foregoing contributions. Still, in this effort as with all dynamic research programmes, new questions arise as old ones are put to bed.

author list (cited authors)

  • Boyne, G. A., Meier, K. J., O’Toole, L. J., & Walker, R. M.

citation count

  • 12

Book Title

  • Public Service Performance

publication date

  • January 2006