Competing Institutional Logics in the Development and Use of Performance Indicators between Hierarchical Levels in Dutch Municipalities
34 Pages Posted: 29 May 2015 Last revised: 15 Apr 2019
Date Written: May 27, 2015
We aim to explain how institutional logics affect the development and use of performance indicators at different hierarchical levels in local government. Furthermore, we aim to show how decision makers cope with competing institutional logics. We use qualitative data from 24 interviews with decision makers at different hierarchical levels in six Dutch municipalities. We use quantitative data from the municipalities’ main budget. We show varying dominant logics at different hierarchical levels. These logics are materialized in different performance management practices. In the relation between politicians and top management, we empirically find that the institutional logic and the type of performance indicators (outcome, output, process) do not necessarily need to fit in order to enhance the use of indicators. Rather, if more output indicators are available, the use of indicators becomes higher. In the relation between top management and department level, we find that service measurability affects the institutional logic, and with it, the use of performance indicators. Finally, we show several ways for organizations to cope with competing institutional logics, whereby we make a distinction in competing means and ends. Our theoretical contribution is threefold. First, we propose a framework with four institutional logics that combines contemporary theory on institutional logics from a sociological perspective, with the institutional logics approach that is being used in the field of accounting. Second, we explicitly examine the performance management practices at multiple hierarchical levels. We provide the arguments for the development and use of performance indicators at different hierarchical levels, as well as the interrelations between them. Third, we examine how competing institutional logics specifically play a role in municipalities, where the provision of performance information is important in order to maintain legitimacy with a broad range of constituencies, whilst being subject to regulatory and other institutional pressures.
Keywords: Institutional logics, Performance management, Local government
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