Panel Paper: Examining Perceptual and Archival Measures of Performance in the Context of Nursing Home Care

Saturday, November 8, 2014 : 8:30 AM
Grand Pavilion IV (Hyatt)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Anna A. Amirkhanyan1, Kenneth J. Meier2, Laurence J. O'Toole, Jr.3, Mueen A. Dakhwe2 and Shawn Janzen1, (1)American University, (2)Texas A&M University, (3)University of Georgia
Striving to enhance the generalizability of performance measures across different organizations and policy areas, public management research has extensively relied on the managers’ perceptual assessments of organizational performance.  Recent empirical studies in the field of public education suggest that these self-evaluations may in fact be biased: managers tend to systematically overestimate the performance of their agencies, even after accounting for the difficulty of their task or resource constraints. Perceptual measures also do not correlate strongly with the objective (or “archival”) measures of organizational performance.  In addition, while examining the effect of management on the perceptual measures of performance derived from the same survey, the measures are likely to suffer from common source bias. On the other hand, depending on the process of data collection and the stakeholders involved in the evaluation process, the archival measures can also be biased. For instance, performance data created by government employees could be biased against nongovernmental (e.g., for-profit) service providers.

This study contributes to this literature by examining the perceptual and archival measures of performance in the context of nursing home care. Our first objective is to explore how the administrators’ subjective assessments of their nursing homes’ quality compare to the archival measures reflecting nursing homes’ compliance with over 180 federal regulations pertaining to care, administration and physical environment.  Our second objective is to investigate how these measures are influenced by management, as well as various organizational factors (such as size and staffing) and environmental factors (such as market competition or demand).  In particular, we will examine the effect of public, nonprofit, and for-profit ownership on subjective and archival measures of performance.

In this study, we use a combination of primary and secondary data.  In 2013, we surveyed a stratified random sample of 725 nursing home administrators, focusing on their intra- and inter-organizational management strategies and subjective performance assessments. The survey was merged with Nursing Home Compare, national panel data on nursing home characteristics and quality inspections, maintained by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Multiple regression models with current and lagged explanatory variables will be used to examine the effect of organizational characteristics and environmental factors on perceptual and archival measures of nursing home performance.  The effect of management on these measures will be analyzed cross-sectionally, as our data on management strategies come from the 2013 survey of nursing home administrators.

The findings of this study will improve our understanding of the validity of perceptual measures of performance in the field of nursing home care.  This study will also provide important evidence on the propensity of subjective measures to suppress or falsely identify relationships with various independent variables commonly included in organizational performance models.