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Performance Measurement and Performance Management

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Performance Measurement and Performance Management

This topic deals with performance measurement and performance management in the public and nonprofit sectors. Students learn about the process of selection, development, and on-going use of performance measures to guide decision-making (Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat). Students observe that while evaluation involves special one-time measures and extensive analysis of the data gathered, performance measurement is characterized by regular and often more straightforward measurement of aspects of a program’s performance (Mayne and Zapico-Goni 1997). In terms of performance or results-based management, students learn how to integrate strategy, people, resources, processes, and measurements to improve decision-making. This approach focuses on getting the right design early, focusing on outcomes, measuring performance, learning, and changing (Treasury Board Secretariat).

Topic Learning Outcome: Students will understand the differences between performance management and evaluation. Students will understand the characteristics of useful performance information and will be able to apply this knowledge by identifying practical, useful performance measures for specific programs.

Core Concepts associated with this Topic: Performance; Performance Expectations; Performance Monitoring; Productivity in the Public Sector; Results Based Management; Results-Based Reporting; Performance Reporting; Performance Story; Benchmark; Expected Result; Intermediate Outcome; Lessons Learned; Neutrality; Objectivity; Outcome; Outputs; Performance Audit; Performance Criteria; Performance Indicator; Performance Measure; Performance Measurement; Performance Measurement Strategy.

Recommended Reading

Harvard University: MLD-101B Management, Leadership, and Decision Making

Dees, G. J. & Jacobson, K. (2002). Note on Innovations in Philanthropy. Stanford Business School case S1-05.

The Harlem Children’s Zone: Driving Performance with Measurement and Evaluation. HBS case 303-109.

Interview with Geoffrey Canada on National Public Radio’s This American Life.

Ebrahim, A., & Rangan, V. K. (2010). The limits of nonprofit impact: A contingency framework for measuring social performance. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Working Paper.

Excerpts from Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational Culture and Leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Pages 219-220 on founders/leaders’ imprints on organizational culture and pages 299-313 on managing cultural change.

Kotter, J. P. (1990). What leaders really do. Harvard Business Review, 68(3), 103-111.


Sample Assessment Questions:

1.) What is the difference between performance measurement and evaluation?

2.) What is the role of performance measurement in the policy cycle?

3.) What are three characteristics of useful performance indicators? For the policy or program of your choice, identify two potential performance indicators that would be useful for performance measurement purposes and describe in one paragraph why they are potentially valuable measures of program effectiveness or efficiency.

Page created by Matthew Seddon; updated by Sean Goertzen and Ben Eisen on 21 May 2015.


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© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance