Playing the Game of Outcomes-based Performance Management. Is Gamesmanship Inevitable? Evidence from Theory and Practice

Toby Lowe, Rob Wilson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article presents the case for the need for a re-think in the prevailing orthodoxy of measurement approaches in the governance and management of public services. The article explores the simplification of complex reality that outcomes-based performance management (OBPM) requires in order to function, and the consequences of such simplification. It examines the evidence for and against the effectiveness of OBPM, and argues that both sets of evidence can be brought into a single explanatory story by understanding the theory of OBPM. The simplification required to measure and attribute ‘outcomes’ turns the organization and delivery of social interventions into a game, the rules of which promote gamesmanship, distorting the behaviour of organizations, managers and practitioners who undertake it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-1001
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Volume51
Issue number7
Early online date27 Dec 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

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