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Behavioral and institutional performance management theories are popular. Here is why we need to add a relational perspective

Alexander Kroll (Department of Public Policy and Administration, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA)

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management

ISSN: 1096-3367

Article publication date: 19 July 2022

Issue publication date: 24 January 2023




Recently, Modell (2022) and James et al. (2020) provided reviews of the performance management literature that subscribe to an institutional or behavioral perspective, respectively. This article draws attention to an alternative theoretical approach – the relational perspective.


The article is based on a review of different literature.


Decision-making in public organizations becomes more participatory or distributed, and service provision is increasingly collaborative. In line with these trends in public administration practice, performance management theory needs to be updated and principal-agent assumptions expanded. A relational perspective could provide such an update. This perspective emphasizes the group as the unit of analysis and the importance of collaborative routines to select, define, and use performance practices and metrics. The perspective also draws attention to the role of networks, social processes, and negotiations within teams, as well as group dynamics in decision-making.


The article outlines avenues for future relational research on performance management efforts, with the intention to encourage more empirical work in this area. The article also theorizes about promising connections between the relational, institutional, and behavioral perspectives, specifically linking a relational research agenda to propositions made by Modell (2022).



Kroll, A. (2023), "Behavioral and institutional performance management theories are popular. Here is why we need to add a relational perspective", Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 1-11.



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