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Whoever Has Will be Given More: The Effect of Performance Information on Frontline Employees' Support for Managerial Policy Initiatives

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  • Niels Bjørn G. Petersen

Research has demonstrated how policy changes are bound to fail without the support of frontline employees. This study examines how performance information influences frontline employees' support for managerial policy initiatives. We develop hypotheses stating that the exposure to positive and negative organizational performance scores compared to average scores increases frontline employees' support for managerial policy initiatives and thus facilitate policy change. To test our hypotheses, we conduct a survey experiment on more than 1,500 social caseworkers working in Danish employment agencies. The results show that while the provision of positive organizational scores increases caseworkers' support for managerial policy initiatives, there is no direct effect following the exposure of negative performance scores. However, additional exploratory analysis reveals that the caseworkers' experienced work pressure moderates the effect of positive and negative performance information. Specifically, caseworkers that experience a high work pressure are more inclined to support managerial policy initiatives following positive and negative performance scores. Furthermore, the explorative analysis indicates that the caseworkers tend to ignore negative performance information, which strongly suggests that poor performance scores trigger identity-protective cognition. Overall, the study advances our understanding of the link between performance information and support of policy changes on the frontline of public services by showing how different performance scores influence employees' support for managerial policy initiatives.

TidsskriftJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Sider (fra-til)533-547
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 1 okt. 2020

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