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Tackling the Performance Regime Paradox: A Problem-Solving Approach Engages Professional Goal-Based Learning

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Public performance regimes are bedeviled by a paradox: they must engage the specialized knowledge of professionals who often perceive those very regimes as a threat to their autonomy. The authors use a mixed‐method analysis of performance management in Danish hospitals, with separate data for managers and frontline professionals, to offer two insights into this challenge. First, the study shows that managerial behavior—in the form of performance information use—matters to the way frontline professionals engage in goal‐based learning. Second, it shows that the way managers use performance data matters. When managers use data in ways that reinforce the perception of performance management as an externally imposed tool of control, professionals withdraw effort. However, when managers use data in ways that solve organizational problems, professionals engage in goal‐based learning. The threat to professional values that performance regimes pose can therefore be mitigated by managers using data in ways that complements those values.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Administration Review
Pages (from-to)1001-1010
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

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