Dysfunctionality in Performance Measurement When Outputs are Difficult to Measure: A Research Note

Advances in Management Accounting

ISBN: 978-0-76231-243-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-367-9

ISSN: 1474-7871

Publication date: 10 December 2005


In this paper, we examine the possible problems of using input–output models (such as DEA) when outputs are difficult to quantify within an agency theory perspective and illustrate the potential problems using recent proposals in the UK for evaluating and rewarding police unit performance. We conclude that although input–output models, particularly those such as DEA may be useful as a diagnostic tool to assist decision-makers in altering future operating strategies and policies, it has serious limitations when rewards and incentives are attached to the DEA performance evaluations. In our view, overreliance on mechanical, formula-based approaches is potentially a serious threat to improving performance in these situations.


Greenberg, R. and Nunamaker, T. (2005), "Dysfunctionality in Performance Measurement When Outputs are Difficult to Measure: A Research Note", Epstein, M. and Lee, J. (Ed.) Advances in Management Accounting (Advances in Management Accounting, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 277-289. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1474-7871(05)14013-1

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