Title: Interpretive schemes in performance management - measurement problems generating managerial action in Finnish local government

Authors: Jarmo Vakkuri

Addresses: School of Management, University of Tampere, FI-33014, Finland

Abstract: This paper examines the 'doing' question of public sector performance by studying public organisations and managers as carriers of interpretive schemes on performance improvements and the effects of such schemes on actual managerial practices of the public sector. This paper poses two research questions: 1) how do interpretive schemes of public managers help to solve performance measurement problems in public organisations; 2) what are the related heuristic strategies of public managers to cope with decision making ambiguity in local government? The research questions are examined by utilising empirical data on Finnish local government regarding interpretive schemes and their implications for managerial decisions. The empirical dataset includes documentary material and interview data from Finnish local government. This paper argues that it is important to analyse performance measurement as a solution to organisational problems. Moreover, it is necessary to address situations in which performance measurement is a problem as such calling for managerial solutions. Those solutions and heuristics generate new unanticipated organisational action. They also have important effects and implications on public sector performance. Understanding this dynamics is most relevant for performance management research and practice.

Keywords: interpretive schemes; public sector performance measurement; public management; local government; managerial actions; heuristics; Finland; performance management; decision making ambiguity; public organisations.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPSPM.2013.056070

International Journal of Public Sector Performance Management, 2013 Vol.2 No.2, pp.156 - 174

Available online: 27 Aug 2013 *

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