The Dynamics of Performance Management

Constructing Information and Reform

Donald P. Moynihan

"The implementation focus of this study provides a fresh perspective on performance management . . . Moynihan has written an important book that reveals the potential of performance management in ways unanticipated by the doctrine."
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Efficiency. Innovation. Results. Accountability. These, advocates claim, are the fruits of performance management. In recent decades government organizations have eagerly embraced the performance model—but the rush to reform has not delivered as promised.

Drawing on research from state and federal levels, Moynihan illustrates how governments have emphasized some aspects of performance management—such as building measurement systems to acquire more performance data—but have neglected wider organizational change that would facilitate the use of such information. In his analysis of why and how governments in the United States have made the move to performance systems, Moynihan identifies agency leadership, culture, and resources as keys to better implementation, goal-based learning, and improved outcomes.

How do governments use the performance information generated under performance systems? Moynihan develops a model of interactive dialogue to highlight how performance data, which promised to optimize decision making and policy change for the public's benefit, has often been used selectively to serve the interests of particular agencies and individuals, undermining attempts at interagency problem solving and reform.

A valuable resource for public administration scholars and administrators, The Dynamics of Performance Management offers fresh insight into how government organizations can better achieve their public service goals.

Table of Contents


1. An Era of Governance by Performance Management

2. Performance Management as Doctrine

3. The Partial Adoption of Performance Management Reforms in State Government

4. Explaining the Partial Adoption of Performance Management Reforms

5. Explaining the Implementation of Performance Management Reforms

6. The Interactive Dialogue Model of Performance Information Use

7. Performance Management under George W. Bush

8. PART and the Interactive Dialogue Model

9. Dialogue Routines and Learning Forums

10. Rethinking Performance Management

Appendix A: Interview Protocol for State Interviews

Appendix B: State Backgrounds—Political Culture, Budgeting Practices, Performance Management History and Corrections Policies

Appendix C: Program Assessment Rating Tool




"A wonderfully written text . . . The strengths of Moynihan's book include the variety of performance management reforms that he investigates, the multiple methodologies that he employs to examine these reforms, and, most importantly, the prescriptions that he provides for the consideration and use of performance information going forward."—Public Administration Review

"The implementation focus of this study provides a fresh perspective on performance management . . . Moynihan has written an important book that reveals the potential of performance management in ways unanticipated by the doctrine."—Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory

"The Dynamics of Performance Management is a richly detailed description of the influence of the performance movement in American government. [Moynihan's] use of the interactive dialogue model in his analysis of state-level applications of performance management provides a fresh and thoughtful perspective which advances our understanding of public sector performance."—H. George Frederickson, University of Kansas

"Donald Moynihan’s clear-headed analysis of the widespread diffusion of performance reforms in government is excellent. The major questions he poses are fundamental: Why these performance reforms? What difference have they made? Are we—should we be—learning important lessons? His answers have important implications for both the analysis and the design of performance reforms."—Patricia Ingraham, Binghamton University


Supplemental Materials


Winner of the 2009 Public and Nonprofit Division Best Book Award of the Academy of Management, the 2012 Herbert A. Simon Book Award of the American Political Science Association

About the Author

Donald P. Moynihan is an associate professor of public affairs at the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

264 pp., 6 x 9

Mar 2008

264 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-58901-194-6
Mar 2008

264 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-435-0
Mar 2008

Public Management and Change series
Beryl A. Radin, Series Editor

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