How well do governments do in converting the resources they take from us, like taxes, into services that improve the well-being of individuals, groups, and society as a whole? In other words: how well do they perform?
This question has become increasingly prominent in public debates over the past couple of decades, especially in the developed world but also in developing countries. As the state has grown during the second half of the 20th century, so pressures to justify its role in producing public services have also increased. Governments across the world have implemented all sorts of policies aimed at improving performance.
But how much do we know about what actually improves performance of public organisations and services? On what theories, explicit or more often implicit, are these policies based? The answer is: too much and too little. There are dozens of theories, models, assumptions, and prescriptions about "what works" in improving performance. But there's been very little attempt to "join up" theories about performance and make some sense of the evidence we have within a coherent theoretical framework.
This ground-breaking book sets out to begin to fill this gap by creatively synthesising the various fragments and insights about performance into a framework for systematically exploring and understanding how public sector performance is shaped. It focuses on three key aspects: the external "performance regime" that drives performance of public agencies; the multiple dimensions that drive performance from within; and the competing public values that frame both of these and shape what public expects from public services.
`Review from previous edition Performance management has grown from a narrow technical suburb of public administration into a sprawling city of its own. Colin Talbot provides us with a much-needed A to Z - one which looks into the foundations as well as the superstructures, and which shows how the technicalities link to some of the perennial dilemmas of public policymaking.'
Christopher Pollitt, Research Professor of Public Management, Public Management Institute, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
`Colin Talbot takes an issue that is usually buried in narrow administrative and political frameworks and provides the reader with a broader and provocative perspective. This book offers students and practitioners of performance a new and fresh orientation to an important issue.'
Beryl A. Radin, American University, Washington, DC
`Professor Talbot brings his aptitude for trenchant analysis of policy making and public management to the subject of public sector performance. The result is a compact comparative assessment of performance measurement and management that is a tour de force of theoretical breadth, political insight, practical wisdom, and good judgment. Academics and practitioners alike will find it invaluable.'
Laurence E. Lynn, Jr. University of Texas at Austin
Section I: Performance and Theory
2: Problematics of Performance
3: Theories and Performance
Section II: Governance and Performance
4: Performance Regimes: Institututions
5: Performance Regimes: Interventions
6: Performance and Public Value(s)
Section III: Performance and Organizations
7: Performance and Organizations
8: Performance and Public Organizations
Section IV: Conclusions
10: Individual, Managerial, and Organizational Responses
11: Shaping Public Performance