Performance Management in the New Zealand Public Sector

Author: Bonner, Sarah

Date: 2014

Publisher: Victoria University of Wellington

Type: Scholarly text

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Victoria University of Wellington


This research seeks to understand Performance Management from a New Zealand perspective and answer the question “What are the barriers to the implementation of Organisational Performance Management in the NZ Public Sector”. An extensive literature review was undertaken relating to research on organisational Performance Management. The review identified that there were two key gaps in the research, (1) A contextual gap, and (2) a conceptual gap. Contextually; there is limited research about PM in New Zealand, especially in terms of the New Zealand public sector, and what was available was predominately from a practitioner view (Gill, 2011). Conceptually; the literature reviewed identified four broad barriers to implementation of PM; these were generally discussed in isolation to each other. However, analysis of these barriers suggests that there are inter-related and linked by an over arching barrier related to psychological attitudes, therefore they are co-dependent of each other: (1) organisational and managerial, (2) political, (3) cultural, and (4) psychological. Drawing on the identification of the above mentioned gaps the research sought to further explore theses gaps. From the contextual perspective within the New Zealand public sector, there are two PM frameworks in place The Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) and The Better Administrative Services Framework (BASS). The research used a case study approach to analyse results from both these PM frameworks, and identified that while the performance measurement frameworks where valuable in their own right, they lacked contextual depth, and suffered limitations from duplication and fragmentation. The case study highlighted further emergent themes related to the conceptual perspective, confirming that there were indeed barriers associated with successful implementation of the performance information gained from these frameworks. These barriers aligned with those identified in the literature review; however, additional themes emerged. These were the lack of incentives to drive improvements, the impact of risk taking, fragmentation and duplication and the absence of a holistic system view of agency performance. These emergent themes interlink with the barriers identified and reiterate that psychological perceptions and attitudes are the core resistance to the successful implementation of performance management and should not be viewed in isolation.

Subjects: Performance Management, Measurement, Public Sector