Panel: Improving Performance and Accountability Systems
(Public and Non-Profit Management and Finance)

Saturday, November 10, 2018: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Truman - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Donald Moynihan, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Discussants:  Nathan Favero, American University

Benchmarking Fiscal Outcomes: The Role of Employee Training
Whitney Afonso, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Thomas Luke Spreen, University of Maryland and Ed Gerrish, University of South Dakota

Explaining Effort Substitution in Performance Systems: The Role of Task Difficulty and Mission Orientation
S. Lorenzo Benaine and Alexander Kroll, Florida International University

The Impact of Rational and Political Factors on Performance Measurement Adoption and Performance Information Use: Analysis of Elected Officials from Mississippi
Tamara Dimitijevska-Markoski, P. Edward French and Joseph “Dallas” Breen, Mississippi State University

Performance and accountability systems have been adopted across policy areas and levels of government. Managers are charged to demonstrate program performance by tracking data on program efficiency and effectiveness. Although such data may help identify performance gaps, better inform decisions, and improve accountability, performance systems are prone to major flaws. Much effort is devoted to the collection and reporting of data but performance information remains to be unused for decision-making; data is used but in ways that do not improve performance; or incentive structures lead to dysfunctional responses and organizational cheating.

The research in this panel will focus on some of the weak spots of performance systems and address the following questions: Which organizations tend to adopt performance systems in cases in which adoption is optional? Understanding the attributes of adopters will help to better tailor performance systems to organizational needs. Does training help managers to employ performance systems more effectively? Establishing the impact of training is a necessary first step before discussing different content and dosages of training programs. What makes organizations game performance data? That is, when holding the incentive structure constant, why are some organizations more likely to cheat than others? How can we foster the purposeful use of performance information? Which interventions are the most promising ones in order to facilitate data use for performance improvements? The research in this panel will contribute to the current academic debate but also provide recommendations to policy-makers and public managers.