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Learning By Using Performance Measures In Local Governments: The Perspective Of Public Managers

PAQ, Vol. 40 No. 4, (2016)

The aim of the research is to identify the factors which enable / restrain public managers’ learning from past experience.
The article draws upon research undertaken in Italian local governments after the last performance-based reform (2009). It gives evidence of the ways of learning in organizations characterized by a bureaucratic administrative culture, a political regime instability and ones that operate under financial stress conditions. These circumstances are common in many public administrations in the “era” of the global financial, economic and fiscal crisis.
We based our analysis on a cross-sectional data set and the research was carried out using an OLS model.
Besides the factors identified in the performance management literature which foster public managers’ learning, we found that the political regime stability produced positive effects on learning. Moreover, executives in municipalities characterized with an higher percentage of enforcement measures tended to be more aware of the importance of measuring and analyzing past performance in order to reduce further potential financial criticalities.

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