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A multiperspective, capabilities-centred and values-based framework in local government performance measurement

Chia, Joseph Eric (1999) A multiperspective, capabilities-centred and values-based framework in local government performance measurement. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Decentralisation trends giving local governments and communities greater say in regional and state policy making and greater public expectations of government have made it imperative for local governments to rapidly improve their policy making and service delivery processes. The thesis advocates a decentralised but globally coordinated approach to government, and develops a balanced and values-based performance framework that is open to external review by peers, national governments and the public. Even with a decentralised system of government where autonomous and accountable local governments work collaboratively with each other and state government, a ‘balanced’ and transparent performance framework that is an integral part of organizational vision is needed. This mission-based framework assesses how effective and democratic local governments are in executing their broader strategic missions, and ensures that the formulation and execution of strategy is done in a way that is consistent with the democratic and globalist values of the new millennium. Hence the thesis uses a decentralised and globally networked approach to government in building a transparent and balanced performance measurement framework that is strongly tied to organizational vision, and reflects the mission and values of that vision.

Three innovative approaches are developed by drawing together strategic management and organizational development literature written from public and private sector management perspectives. The first is a capabilities-centred approach in performance measurement that goes beyond measuring only final outcomes to evaluating the underlying capabilities, which facilitate the effective identification and achievement of objectives. Organizations are seen to be better able to invent and learn new challenges and strategies when they have the following six generic capabilities:

• Achieve internal consultation and customer focus
• Develop new local capabilities that complement and synergise one another
• Learn and innovate from experience and others
• Externally network with other global communities and organizations
• Balance and integrate different policies into a coherent overall strategy
• Achieve efficiency and financial management

Secondly, a multi-perspective and synergistic approach is used in designing a more balanced and integrated performance framework with broad measures of achievement against shared community objectives that have been collaboratively negotiated. Performance measurement has erstwhile adopted a primarily economic perspective as a result of its origins in the private sector. In this thesis, performance in local government is looked at more holistically by assessing diverse final outcomes, capabilities and synergies among them from economic, environmental and social perspectives, and at local, state, national and global levels. Multiperspective strategic indicators like population size and density; revenue diversification; population, industry and civic community profiles and volunteerism are proposed as key performance measures that reflect synergies across diverse policy objectives.

Finally, a values-based approach is adopted based on the three enduring and overarching values of entrepreneurialism, democracy and sustainability. If performance measurement is to help in the execution of strategic vision and mission that are founded on these three sets of principles, measures need to be based on the core values of that vision. Such a performance framework would help build capabilities, and be guided by values-based strategic objectives, achieving not only organizational effectiveness, but also Society’s ideals of innovativeness, enterprise, efficiency, competitiveness, freedom, equality, democracy, consultation, civic community, conservation and global cooperation.

Using these approaches, key indicators are identified from regional statistics that measure strategic performance against both final outcomes and capabilities, which local governments can use to chart their progress on diverse fronts. These strategic measures are then incorporated with more ‘local’ performance measures uncovered through interviews and a review of publications and documents of Perth local authorities, to build a multi-perspective, capabilities-centred and values-based framework from both topdown and bottom up. Local governments along with other government organizations may thus become 'models of transparency and learning’ for organizations and communities through developing and publishing comprehensive and balanced measures that reveal performance against final outcomes as well as capabilities. These measures may in turn be used by increasingly ethical investors and customers that demand more balanced corporate information in making more informed and ethical investment and purchase decisions. Hence, government organizations can contribute to democracy and the education of consumers and investors in demanding that corporations are socially and environmentally responsible in the pursuit of profits. Corporations and civil society would thus be drawn in to share a more responsible, ‘whole-ofsociety’ approach in achieving more balanced, equitable, cooperative and sustainable development globally. Human progress could be so much more balanced, responsible and synergistic if organizations and communities were multi-perspective and values-based in their visions and missions, and capabilities-centred in their strategies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Newman, Peter
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