Performance Measurement
January 16, 2014

Fudging Performance: The politics of measurement

There is an emerging intersection between the challenges of performance measurement and the state of ethical conduct monopolizing headlines these days. The agony play features scandals afflicting all segments of society, not just the controversies surrounding the Senate and Toronto City Hall. Rather than bearing True North, the nation’s moral compass threatens to go south.

The rampant misinformation campaign is confusing, misleading, and demoralizing. Performance measurement is being manipulated to obfuscate evidence of shortcomings or wrongdoing. Commentators are calling for public institutions to embed clear codes of ethical conduct. What are the implications for implementing strategies for open and accountable government?

Last October, CBC Radio ran a news story entitled “Whistleblower lawsuit says CN is cooking its books.” It revealed alleged scams and cover-ups about falsified performance reporting to give CN competitive advantage. The story questioned the corporate culture and role of domineering leaders in imposing “a reign of terror,” with negative effects on staff morale and organizational performance.

At the same time, many managers resist having their performance scrutinized by others. One expert observes that, “… Bill Gates has great enthusiasm for target setting and measuring performance. But safeguards are needed on transmitting or sharing performance information. Principles regarding codes of conduct, external monitoring, and impartial appeal procedures help ensure due process.”

Government at a Glance 2013 is the OECD’s biennial dashboard of key indicators that enable international comparisons of public sector performance. Governance indicators focus on transparency, regulation, service delivery, human resource management, and public service compensation. It is recognized that good indicators help government make tough choices and restore public confidence.

Governance requires more than a quick look, however. IPAC’s Centre of Excellence on Performance Management and Accountability is a forum that seeks to understand and use accountability to improve organizational effectiveness; to learn concepts and applications that enhance transparency and accountability for results; and to research and publish jurisdictional analyses and practical guidance.

Meanwhile, with less than two years until the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, preparations for the post-2015 MDGs are in full swing. The expected outcome is a strong development agenda that builds upon MDG foundations, completes unfinished business, responds to new challenges, and aligns poverty eradication and sustainable development. Success will depend upon transforming society and mobilizing the world from the politics of convenience towards a mission of necessity.

About this author

0 comments

There are no comments for this post yet.

Be the first to comment. Click here.

Performance Measurement
 
Leadership, service delivery, change management, performance measurement, big data, transparency, digital...
 
Recently, there has been considerable interest in what is being referred...
 
Over the years, governments have been adopting Lean management principles to...
 
As the resettlement of Syrian Refugees exemplifies, government programs, currently running...
 
With businesses and government agencies increasingly operating in a highly information-based...
 
Risk is always present in any undertaking, no matter the size...
 
The Government of Canada’s newly announced Policy on Results replaces the...
 
In this episode, J. Richard Jones share information about the Canadian...
 
Rules and accountability are helpful in developing and standardizing processes but...
 
For several months now, the Liberal government ministers have been using...
 
Global market trends are accelerating to increase the pressure on commercial...
 
As a consultant, I work primarily with private sector organizations including...
 
Here’s some bad news for organizations contemplating projects that have something...
 
If the purpose of the Government of Canada’s performance measurement system...
 
Performance auditing can lead to more efficient, effective, and economical program...
 
The latest Auditor General’s report on Shared Services Canada (SSC) and...
 
Public sector innovation, once dismissed as a contradiction in terms, is...
 
The necessity for government executives to manage change, and achieve results,...
 
Every organization does it, but often with ambivalence: the performance measurement...
 
There is an apparent disconnect in performance measurement. Today, agencies measure...
 
The government of Canada’s transformation agenda continues to drive change across...
 
Cost savings in government programs and services used to be achieved...
 
As we move into 2015 – with a looming federal election...
 
Over the last four decades, public sector organizations have institutionalized program...
 
When you purchase clothes, do you like off-the-rack, or do you...
 
All governments, including Canada’s, strive to manage taxpayers’ dollars more efficiently....
 
Getting a clear definition of policy processes and functions can be...
 
While government agencies do not have “bottom lines” in the way...
 
Most of you already know that project management is a means...
 
The taxpayers are wary. Politicians worry about retaining their jobs. Everyone...
 
There has never been a time since the introduction of program...
 
The management of resources has always been taken for granted in...
 
In the last two decades, managing for results has gained momentum...
 
For the first time, the Consortium of Universities for Evaluation Education...
 
The government of New Zealand, and the State Services Commission in...
 
While it has been around for over 130 years, the concept...
 
Performance measurement and public reporting are intended to achieve two complementary...
 
Canada has over 400 administrative tribunals that are probably the least...
 
Last summer, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS) signed...
 
The core mandate of the Consortium of Universities for Evaluation Education...
 
the author fails to provide a complete picture (the good and...
 
Why talk about ethics at all right now? After all, Canada’s...
 
we now have what one federal ADM described to me as...
 
The reduction or mitigation of risks or harms is a major...
 
What are Canadian universities doing to maintain their relevance and innovative...
 
Managing for results has gained significant momentum in the public sector...
 
“Is performance management still relevant?” was the thought-provoking question posed by...
 
Within the last year, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS)...
 
Results matter in the public sector, particularly in these challenging times...
 
Today’s public sector environment is one in which many managers and...
 
Just as with public financial reporting, performance reporting is here to...
 
Being a high-performing organization is like being a high-performing individual: it...
 
With the current reality of deficit reduction, cost cutting and overall...
 
This article is New and Improved! After an exhaustive review cycle...
 
Canada was at the table when the “Commonwealth of Nations” was...
 
If you believe that performance measurement is a vital part of...
 
The last great international effort to refashion the public sector took...
 
Beginning on April 1, 2013, and over a five-year cycle, the...
 
Governments are increasingly using benchmarking to improve organizational performance; to determine...
 
Senior public sector managers, deputy heads of departments and parliamentarians need...
 
Canada is a hockey-loving nation and now is the time of...
 
Too few public sector organizations have truly embedded performance thinking into...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.3 March 2007 Governing is never easy. And in...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.2 February 2007 Improving organizational health and employee engagement...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.1 January 2007 The proposed Federal Accountability Act is...
 
CGE Vol.14 No.2 February 2008 The passage of the Federal Accountability...
 
CGE Vol. 14 No.4 April 2008 The Tellier-Mazankowski advisory committee on...
 
Performance management leads to either disdain or glee in public sector...
 
Les administrations publiques utilisent de plus en plus l’analyse comparative pour...
 
The redesign of corporate tax administration for Ontario is a major...
 
Coincidental with the push for more attention to be paid to...
 
The BC Public Service has had an intense focus on improving...
 
La reconception de l’administration de l’imposition des sociétés en Ontario est...
 
Dans son budget de lutte contre la récession (et d’économies dans...
 
The Harper government’s recession fighting (and government saving) budget heralded an...
 
Many governments have bought into the notion of the Balanced Scorecard,...
 
David P. Norton est le cocréateur, avec Robert Kaplan, du Tableau...
 
Together with Robert Kaplan, David P. Norton is the creator of...
 
Il y a dix ans, la Société canadienne du sang (SCS)...
 
Début septembre, la fonction publique de l’Ontario (FPO) célébrait le 10e...
 
Bon nombre d’administrations publiques ont adopté le tableau de bord prospectif,...
 
Today’s public sector managers encounter increasingly complex corporate issues that call...
 
Performance management seems to be everywhere these days, with much of...
 
The two key tools used by the Canadian government to measure...
 
The principle is unassailable: Canadians have the right to know whether...
 
L’administration publique s’efforce d’obtenir des résultats tangibles en mettant en œuvre...
 
Une étude récente commandée par l’OCDE conclut que, malgré le fait...
 
A recent study commissioned by the OECD concludes that while the...
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
Leadership, service delivery, change management, performance measurement, big data, transparency, digital...