Lesotho Public Sector Performance Management System
|Keywords||management sector objectives performance public system resources development their institutions country accountability economic appraisal institutional civil strategy often responsibility making|
Many public sector organizations have an obsession with measuring performance, butfail to manage it. The delivery of public services in developing countries isover-centralized, and one of the reasons for this is the presence of centralizeddecision-making apparatus, which distances power from communities. Thecentralized decision making reduces accountability among public sector employeesand is a good recipe for undesirable decisions and mismanagement of performanceand resources at the expense of public service quality.While government and public sector organizations have made huge progress withperformance management, implementation is often too mechanical andnumbers-focused, which prevents improvements in performance. A skill gap inperformance management analysis means that massive amounts of data onperformance is collected, but little of it is actually used to provide insight and promptactionable decisions. Hence the lack of a clearly mapped strategy leaves employeesconfused about direction and unable to make effective decisions to improveperformance. During the last two decades, most African countries have embarkedon comprehensive public sector reform programmes, and in many cases have receivedassistance from international institutions.However, despite the tremendous efforts and resources that have been allocated to thisendeavor, progress remains scant. Public sector management reforms are a centralfeature of economic policy reform programmes, and yet, the performance of suchreforms in Africa remains hindered by a myriad of factors including lack of efficiency,lack of accountability, ineffective management practices, and corruption.Practical implications–Performance management has been proven to improvethe performance of western organizations, and recent case studies give an indicationthat the same might be true for organizations in developing countries. This givesmanagement of organizations in these countries the incentive to also start improvingthe results of their organization by implementing performance management. However, there is not much known yet about the factors influencing and behavioralchanges needed to make performance management a success in organizations indeveloping countries. The case study provides insight into the suitability ofperformance management and the importance of performance-driven behavior forgovernmental organizations in these countries, through the eyes of the Civil service ofLesotho.The aim of this research is to identify key features that contribute to ineffectiveimplementation of policies as well as find a way forward so as to advance Lesotho’spublic sector performance management systems. The findings will in turn be avaluable lesson for other African countries facing the same deficiencies. The qualityof public sector management in developing countries lags behind those of thedeveloped countries due to the ills caused by over-centralization. Hence, the publicservices in developing countries are a drain on the wealth-producing part of theireconomy. The research reviews the underlying literature and theoretical framework ofperformance management (PM) as a systems-based model for cultivating theachievement culture in public sector organizations (PSOs). It looks at how the variouspractical econometric and managerial techniques can integrate with the PM model inan attempt to excel the philosophy of new public service management. The paper alsoproposes that the adoption of the PM model is a universal remedy for improvingservice quality in the civil service of developing countries.Interests of the study: Developing countries offer potentially some of the mostimportant growth opportunities for companies both from the developing and thedeveloped world. It is therefore interesting to note that a recent review of the lasttwenty years of empirical research grounded in institutional theory found that moststudies focused on developed countries (95percent%) and that only a small portion(five percent%) of the studies tried to test institutional theory in developing countries(Farashahi et al.,2005). As a result, there has been little structural research oninstitutional effect and change in emerging countries which is surprising becausemany of these countries offer a highly dynamic environment which is a good testing ground for new theory, techniques and concepts of business and management.It has to be noted that quite a few scholars doubt whether existing Westernmanagement practices can and will work in emerging markets, and it has long beenrecognized that culture is a major source of differences in measurement and reportingstandards and methods (Daniels et al.,2004; Piercy et al.,2004). At the same time,interest in this type of research is increasing as developing and developed countriesare starting to realize that the study results can be an important input in developmentpolicies to reduce poverty (Hopper et al.,2003).According to Hopper and many others, Performance management can be regarded asone of those theories whose validity needs to be tested in an emerging country’scontext, as this context can be more dynamic and be completely different from adeveloped country’s context. In this article an overview is given of the status ofperformance management in profit and nonprofit organizations in developingcountries, in particular in Africa. After this, prescriptive empirical research, in theshape of a case study at the Tanzanian College of Business Education, is used to testwhether performance management is a potential useful management tool fororganizations in emerging markets. Using a case study on performance managementin Africa in general, and Lesotho specifically, adds to the literature as not many ofthese studies are currently found in the scientific literature.According to Mackie,2008:7it is widely noted in the literature that it is often difficultfor African organizations to develop performance measures and targets that apply tomore than one organization, and further research with central governmentdepartments has indicated that most African countries have found it difficult tonegotiate Public Service Agreement targets which are contributed to by more than oneGovernment department. Other critics suggest simply that one of the pitfalls ofperformance management and measurement in Africa is that its results areinappropriately or insufficiently used in the policy-making, implementation andmanagement process. For instance, Hatry (2002) suggests that performanceinformation is frequently not well integrated into the decision-making and planningprocess and that management tools are insufficiently used or used in a confused manner. One of the aims of this study is to try and understand how African publicsectors implement their performance management plans so as to verify the critics’allegations.Hypothesis question: Is Performance Management System applicable in the AfricanPublic Sector? Is the system effective enough to make any different at all?