The use and efficacy of anecdotal performance reporting in the third sector

Richard Greatbanks (Department of Management, School of Business, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)
Graham Elkin (Department of Management, School of Business, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)
Graham Manville (School of Management, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Publication date: 27 July 2010

Abstract

Purpose

This research paper seeks to examine the important issues of performance measurement and reporting in a third sector community organisation. It aims to highlight the dysfunctional nature of funding body performance reporting criteria, which do not always align with the values and goals of the voluntary organisation. In contrast, this paper aims to consider the value of using anecdotal performance data to provide a more informed perspective on the performance of third sector organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper examines the current literature regarding performance measurement from a voluntary sector perspective. It then considers the value and efficacy of anecdotal performance reporting and presents empirical findings from a single case study organisation.

Findings

The paper identifies that many forms of performance reporting frameworks used by funding bodies provide little or no value to the voluntary organisation, and that anecdotal performance reporting is often more aligned with the values of the voluntary organisation. This paper proposes that whilst anecdotal performance reporting is not common place, it has an inherent value to both a third sector organisation, and funding body, as it allows the organisation's achievements to be presented in a more empathic light. The paper concludes that anecdotal performance reporting is particularly appropriate where the funding body is of a philanthropic, rather than government or state nature.

Research limitations/implications

This research was conducted from the perspective of one voluntary sector organisation, therefore providing limited generalizability.

Originality/value

With little research undertaken on the value of anecdotal performance reporting in this environment, this paper highlights a potential new area of performance measurement. This research is set within a New Zealand context, adding to the originality.

Keywords

Citation

Greatbanks, R., Elkin, G. and Manville, G. (2010), "The use and efficacy of anecdotal performance reporting in the third sector", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 59 No. 6, pp. 571-585. https://doi.org/10.1108/17410401011063957

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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