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Performance Management


Performance management in the public sector


One of the logical results of the adoption of the New Public Management paradigm in the public sector has been the (further) diffusion of performance measuring and performance management in the Western World. The goal of performance management is to come to a greater level of efficiency and effectiveness in the public sector by both measuring and evaluating the outputs and outcomes of processes. The result should be to be better able to “rate” public sector organizations by having a transparent system to measure results. However, performance management is not without its flaws either. De Bruijn (2007) points out a number of perverse effects that are the result of negative incentives caused by performance indicators and by putting the wrong focus on what can be considered a “success”. Moreover, by concentrating on some elements that are directly measured by performance measurement systems, other values engrained in the public sector are sometimes overlooked.

Course objectives

The main goals of the course are:

  • To introduce the concept of performance management, explain its origins and its current components

  • To provide students with theoretical notions and practical examples of performance management

  • To provide students with skills which help them to analyze performance measurement systems and performance management

  • To challenge students to be critical of performance management in understanding its value and pitfalls


4 sessions of 2 hours of college, 2 sessions of 2 hours of presentations by students, 1 free session to work on the paper]

The (provisional) timetable is on the first page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

4 sessions will be dedicated to lectures and discussion, 2 sessions will consist of presentations by students, and one session remains open for final questions and remarks regarding the paper that has to be written.

Assessment method

Students will be asked to write an individual paper in which they evaluate the performance management in a specific public or non-profit organization. When developing this individual paper, students will also be asked to prepare an individual presentation in which they introduce their subject, and provide an overview of the work in progress
Students will be evaluated as follows:

  • Quality of the individual presentation: 25% of total grade.

  • Quality of the final paper. 75% of total grade.


  • de Bruijn, H. (2007), Managing Performance in the Public Sector, Routledge: London (EAN 9780415403207)

  • Additional articles made available on Blackboard


Instructor uses Blackboard.