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From output to outcome measures in the public sector: a structured literature review

Francesca Dal Mas (University of Udine, Udine, Italy)
Maurizio Massaro (Universita Ca' Foscari, Venice, Italy)
Rosa Lombardi (Department of Law and Economics of Productive Activites, University of Rome La Sapienza, Rome, Italy)
Andrea Garlatti (University of Udine, Udine, Italy)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 24 July 2019

Issue publication date: 1 October 2019




The purpose of this paper is to perform an analysis of the current literature providing a deep contribution to understanding the paradigm shift from output to outcome measures in the public sector. Thus, the main aim is to provide relevant insights of both theoretical and empirical studies, offering a critique of the schemes and the research methods used and underlining future research opportunities for the compelling (or underestimated) contents and new emerging trends.


Articles published in main public management and administration journals, as internationally recognized, are analyzed using a structured literature review methodology. The paper investigates selected contributions published in Association of Business Schools (ABS) (Chartered Association of Business Schools – UK] Grade 4, 3 and 2 journals specializing in the field of “Public Sector Management,” dealing with the topic of performance measurement, from output to outcome.


Findings are described defying a framework that deepens emerging elements of current literature such as main countries analyzed, main research topics highlighted, research methods applied (qualitative versus quantitative; case studies, interviews, comparative studies etc.), different definitions of “output” and “outcome,” top keywords and their connections.


The paper’s findings aim to offer insights and a current “shared vision” into the state of the art and possible future research avenues on the topic of output and outcome measures in the public sector fostering the development of further studies especially in the direction of sustainability.



Dal Mas, F., Massaro, M., Lombardi, R. and Garlatti, A. (2019), "From output to outcome measures in the public sector: a structured literature review", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 27 No. 5, pp. 1631-1656.



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