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Muddled, massaging, manœuvring or manipulated? A typology of organisational gaming

Zoe Radnor (Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 25 April 2008




This conceptual paper seeks to consider the impact of performance measurement and reporting based around performance indicators and targets within the public sector and to identify that the response to indicators and targets is often gaming which happens at organisational level. It then goes on to present a definition and typology of organisational gaming.


The paper draws from a range of documents both government and academic to identify both the process of, and the types of, organisational gaming.


The paper finds that organisational gaming occurs at both different levels (low and high) and extent (internal and external). It builds on this by presenting a framework (2 × 2 matrix) which presents types of organisational gaming which range in their degree of impact and consequence.

Research limitations/implications

The concepts within this paper focus around public services on which the framework is built. This may – but it is doubtful – have limitations when considering the ideas within private sector organisations. Another limitation could be levelled at the 2 × 2 typology in that it may be difficult to place a gaming phenomenon into one “box” alone.


The value in the paper and the framework is that a distinction between measurement and reporting is drawn together with identification of a different gaming phenomenon. This, the paper argues, is important to understand, if organisations are to avoid some of the more “dangerous” or high impact consequences of gaming.



Radnor, Z. (2008), "Muddled, massaging, manœuvring or manipulated? A typology of organisational gaming", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 57 No. 4, pp. 316-328.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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