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Thursday, July 13 • 16:00 - 16:30
3091 Performance Management in the Public Sector: The Urgent Need for a Paradigm Shift

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nowadays the public sector faces many challenges related to human health, biodiversity, and the fundamentals of life – water, food, and energy. there are many complex interdependencies between social, ecological and technological systems. future scenarios are showing an increase in complexity and uncertainty. for many public service managers, it’s hard to keep up with all the changes and transformations in society. their work is often about making cities and villages, and their residents, resilient in the face of rapid change. public service managers are struggling with achieving community outcomes in a ‘value for money’ cost-effective way and with managing the unknowable.

the challenges show that there is a clear and increasing need for an effective performance management system in the public sector. for many public service managers, this is a big challenge. research often focuses on performance measurement, but does not offer practical solutions to performance management in public services. there’s still a need for empirical studies of public performance management practice. this paper combines systems science with the daily practice of public performance management, to be able to translate research results into practical solutions.

the public sector, and the performance management system within, are complex adaptive systems, which means that they need vital energy flows to stay healthy. in this paper, we look at the limitations of performance management tools and the lack of energy that they create.

first, the technologies are introduced. the public sector has adopted many performance management tools from the private sector. a popular tool is the balanced scorecard. this paper explores the growth of the tool into a “systems dynamics-based balanced scorecard”, supposedly based on systems thinking.

secondly, we explore the people’s side of the public performance system, because the key resource in many public services is human capital. in many organisations, the system of public performance has a negative effect on staff morale leading to poor staff engagement and lack of openness by managers. solutions to address this problem are not based on systems thinking, and are leading to short term results, if any. so, the public performance system is not creating the essential vital energy flows to stay healthy, needed for its survival as a complex adaptive system.

in this paper, i use a number of systems and futures concepts and principles including dsrp, cynefin’s five contexts or "domains" of decision-making, complex adaptive systems, batesonian ideas of “space in between”, nora bateson’s symmathesy, and causal layered analysis.

then, based on and explained by the research above, i’m introducing a coherent, holistic performance management system, using my two models: the compass model and the coherent organisational performance model. these models identify the position of the balanced scorecard, and visualise the dynamics of organisations and people.

this paper shows that public performance management needs to be addressed in a different way, and with high staff engagement, to face the current and future challenges. this paper identifies the urgent need for dialogue about the underpinning paradigms, identifies the key success factors, and offers a practical model and method to approach performance management in a new coherent and holistic way.

Thursday July 13, 2017 16:00 - 16:30
3rd Floor, Room SR 121, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria

Attendees (2)