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Performance measurement: Foundations, consequences and futures

4 July 2012




Performance measurement is necessary, and it is not going away. It is never far from the minds of senior managers in public sector organisations. After the last 30 years, during which time its importance has grown, it is time to take stock of how performance measurement has been understood and how its impacts have been analysed. This paper examines why the public sector is interested in performance measurement, how it came to be more important, and outlines some of the fundamental assumptions underpinning it. It considers the consequences of performance measurement, and discusses a recent shift in thinking that focuses on its potential to become a more positive force for change. In summary, this paper uses insights about unanticipated consequences, constant error correcting, and the chaining of social problems to create a performance measurement chain. It argues that this will assist practitioners to consider ways in which the undesirable consequences of performance measurement can be minimised.

These Occasional Papers are jointly published by ANZSOG and the (former) Victorian State Services Authority.

Suggested citation

Lewis, J. (2012). Performance measurement: Foundations, consequences and futures. SSA/ANZSOG Occasional Paper, 21. Melbourne: ANZSOG.


Authors: Jenny Lewis
Published Date: 4 July 2012

Case study

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