Theories of Performance: Organizational and Service Improvement in the Public Domain

Paperback | October 29, 2010

byColin Talbot

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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 havealso 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 'whatworks' 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.

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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 dev...

Colin Talbot is a recognised international expert on performance in the public sector who has worked with governments, public agencies across many countries including Canada, France, and Japan. He has recently been involved in two Prime Minister's seminars in the UK. He's been a specialist adviser to two select committees in Westminst...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pagesPublished:October 29, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199575959

ISBN - 13:9780199575954

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Table of Contents

1. IntroductionSection I: Performance and Theory2. Problematics of Performance3. Theories and PerformanceSection II: Governance and Performance4. Performance Regimes: Institututions5. Performance Regimes: Interventions6. Performance and Public Value(s)Section III: Performance and Organizations7. Performance and Organizations8. Performance and Public OrganizationsSection IV: Conclusions10. Individual, Managerial, and Organizational Responses11. Shaping Public Performance

Editorial Reviews

"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, politicalinsight, practical wisdom, and good judgment. Academics and practitioners alike will find it invaluable." --Laurence E. Lynn, Jr. University of Texas at Austin