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Lock-in effects of performance measurement systems or how politicians and public officials discretion is circumscribed and representative democracy weakened

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Vicki Johansson
Publicerad i EGPA conference 2016, Utrecht, 24-26/8
Publiceringsår 2016
Publicerad vid Förvaltningshögskolan
Språk en
Ämnesord Performance measurment, representative democracy,
Ämneskategorier Statsvetenskap, Studier av offentlig förvaltning


Performance measurement constitute a core element in public management systems all over the world, on local, national, regional as well as on international level. The research is monumental and encompasses a wide range of theoretical and empirical themes and research questions. However, one axiomatic and implicit basic assumption very seldom challenged is that performance measurement is understood as an essential and necessary component in a well-functioning democracy. In this paper I will argue that performance measurement systems tend to undermine representative democracy by first altering roles and behaviours and then cementing relations between politicians and public officials in modes that circumscribe both their discretion. Theoretically the argument is based on a combination of performance, organisational, behavioural and democratic theory. Empirically it is based on a case study performed within a Swedish municipality that went trough a political crisis that unleashed a formative moment. From a methodological perspective formative moments are highly advantageous since they make visible structures, processes and causal mechanism that under normal circumstances often are concealed and arduous to detect.

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