Tackling the Performance Regime Paradox: A Problem-Solving Approach Engages Professional Goal-Based Learning
Forthcoming in Public Administration Review
38 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2020
Date Written: December 22, 2019
Public performance regimes are bedeviled by a paradox: they must engage the specialized knowledge of professionals who often perceive those very regimes as a threat to their autonomy. We use a mixed-method analysis of performance management in Danish hospitals, with separate data for managers and frontline professionals, to offer two insights into this challenge. First, we show that managerial behavior – in the form of performance information use - matters to how frontline professionals engage in goal-based learning. Second, we show that how managers use performance data matters. When managers use data in ways that reinforce the perception of performance management as an externally-imposed tool of control, professionals withdraw effort. However, when managers use data in ways that solve organizational problems, professionals engage in goal-based learning. The threat to professional values that performance regimes pose can therefore be mitigated by managers using data in ways that complements those values.
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