Performance targets and public service improvement

George A. Boyne, Alex A. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

160 Citations (Scopus)


Theories of rational planning suggest that organizational performance improves if targets for future achievements are set. We test this proposition using panel data for 147 English local education authorities between 1998 and 2003. The dependent variables in the analysis are exam results for school pupils. We find that, controlling for other variables, the extent of performance improvement is influenced positively by the presence of a target. Thus, the results are consistent with the view that clear and quantified strategic priorities lead to better organizational outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-477
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


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