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Performance (in public management)

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PPGPortal > Home > Concept Dictionary > P, Q > Performance (in public management)

Performance (in public management)

What a government did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the government intended to achieve and how well lessons learned have been identified.

(Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. "RPP/DPR Lexicon." Estimates


Leslie Pal defines performance as “an empirical indicator of how well a program or organisation is operating with respect to clearly articulated goals.”


Manning et al. state the following:


“The term ‘performance’ is used to indicate that there is a standard to which managers, agencies will be held to account - beyond complying with constraints on the consumption of inputs. The difficulty in the term is that the standard that is to be achieved can refer to anything at all beyond inputs - whether it is in fact classifiable as processes, outputs, or outcomes.”


John Mayne writes the following on the topic of performance and results based management:


“The basic elements of managing-for-results, or results-based management, can be set out quite easily. However, managing-for results-has proven to be quite difficult to implement. Measurement of results - outputs and outcomes - in the public sector is often thought of as the biggest challenge. While agreeing on expected results is often considered a rather straightforward challenge, experience with managing-for-results shows that setting performance expectations may be the most difficult aspect of managing-for-results to accomplish.”




Mayne, John. 2002 "Reporting on Outcomes: Setting Performance Expectations and Telling Performance Stories.” Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation 19 (1): 31-60.

Pal, Leslie. 2006. Beyond Policy Analysis: Public Issue Management in Turbulent Times, 3rd ed. Toronto: Nelson Education.

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. "RPP/DPR Lexicon." Estimates

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School of Public Policy and Governance