Why is dialogue on performance challenging in the public sector?

Tomi Rajala (Faculty of Management, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)
Harri Laihonen (Faculty of Management, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)
Petra Haapala (Faculty of Management, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)

Measuring Business Excellence

ISSN: 1368-3047

Publication date: 21 May 2018

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to understand performance management as a social phenomenon by investigating the challenges of performance dialogue, a phenomenon where participants jointly interpret performance information and discuss it while identifying the actions needed to manage the performance according to this information.

Design/methodology/approach

The research aim is achieved by conducting an interview study. Empirical data were collected by interviewing 30 public managers in three Finnish municipalities and subjecting it to content analysis using inductive category development.

Findings

The research provides empirical evidence from challenges in engaging in performance dialogue. It moreover derives a comprehensive conceptual model categorizing factors inhibiting performance dialogue.

Practical implications

Difficulties in conducting organizational performance dialogues are better explained. The findings support the management of performance dialogue by helping practitioners to identify challenges associated to these dialogues.

Originality/value

This study contributes to current conversations on performance management by showing that performance dialogues are no miracle cure for problems in performance information use. Moreover, the authors demonstrate that complications in performance information use are intertwined in many ways.

Keywords

Citation

Rajala, T., Laihonen, H. and Haapala, P. (2018), "Why is dialogue on performance challenging in the public sector?", Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 117-129. https://doi.org/10.1108/MBE-06-2017-0032

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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