How is information used to improve performance in the public sector? Exploring the dynamics of performance information


In this chapter, we challenge the assumption of a direct relationship between the existence and availability of information, and its use in decisions. We will do so by integrating three different sets of literature. Other chapters in this book stress organisations’ capacities and capabilities to produce a turnaround, or refer to contextual factors that make a turnaround difficult. Our basic argument is that the fact that information exists does not mean it will also be used by those in charge. A first set of arguments comes from a somewhat more recent field of study looking at the actual use of performance information by decision makers in the public sector (Van Dooren & Van de Walle, 2008). The second part will focus on structural and organisational factors that may facilitate or complicate the diffusion of information through an organisation. The third part will briefly introduce psychological factors that make that certain pieces of information are excluded from consideration in decision making. We will subsequently integrate this information and distil the major trends. We end by discussing the implication of our findings on public organisations’ ability to connect knowledge to performance.

In Kieran Walshe, Gill Harvey and Pauline Jas (Eds.), Connecting knowledge and performance in public services: from knowing to doing. Cambridge University Press