Planning and performance in public organizations an empirical analysis

George Boyne*, Julian Gould-Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


The impact of planning on organizational performance in the public sector has been widely debated but has never previously been tested empirically. We develop a statistical model of planning effects that contains five explanatory variables: the extent of organizational analysis, the extent of environmental scanning, the number of precise performance targets, the existence of formal action plans for service improvement and the attitudes of staff involved in the planning process. This model is applied to data obtained from seventy services in Welsh local government. The statistical evidence shows that organizational performance is positively related to favourable attitudes towards planning processes, but negatively related to the number of targets that are set. On balance, the results are consistent with a small positive effect of planning on the performance of public organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-132
Number of pages18
JournalPublic Management Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2003


  • Local government
  • Performance
  • Public organizations
  • Strategic planning
  • Wales


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