Performance management system design and implementation in police agencies: Is following recommended practices worth it?
Pasha, Obed Q.
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Performance management is used as a tool not only to justify government expenses, but also to help public managers in terms of better planning, accountability, resource allocation, goal focusing, and many other benefits (Poister, 2003; Redburn, et al., 2007; Behn, 2003 etc.). As interest in and concerns about performance management systems continue to grow, scholars have increasingly suggested methods to better design and implement these systems in the public sector organizations, with the underlying assumption that they will help public organizations perform better. Using a management model proposed by Meier and O’Toole (1999, 2001), I explored the efficacy of following recommended practices in designing and implementing performance management systems for local police departments in the US. I used the 2012 Uniform Crime Report (UCR) dataset prepared by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and original surveys of the chiefs of various police agencies for this undertaking. I used ordinary least squares (OLS) regression analysis to compare the performance of police agencies (measured in terms of number of crimes per 100,000 people) to the extent to which they follow recommended practices while designing and implementing performance management systems in their respective agencies. The results from this study suggest do not suggest a link between the recommended practices and police performance, as only the practices of using performance information and providing discretion to officers were found to be supporting the hypotheses for only one out of the eight crime categories. These two significant results might be attributed to chance alone. The results, hence, raise questions about the effectiveness of the recommended practices in improving organizational performance. Justification of the use of recommended practices, however, can still be traced to goal-setting theory.