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The ambiguities of performance-based governance reforms in Italy: Reviving the fortunes of evaluation and performance measurement


  • Marra, Mita


Over the past two decades, Italy’s administrative reforms have institutionalized evaluation to improve program effectiveness, staff productivity, and results-driven accountability against waste and corruption. Across ministries, regional governments, universities, schools and environmental protection agencies, seemingly unexpected consequences have emerged out of the implementation of performance measurement and evaluation regimes within public organizations. Formal compliance to legally binding evaluation procedures, judicially-sanctioned managerial accountability and lack of cross-agency coordination coupled with long-standing cultural separations among evaluators are some of the ambiguities associated with a performance-based governance system within Italian public administration. Building upon the ‘new governane theory,’ and qualitative fieldwork, I explore the political consequences of evaluation and performance measurement for possible improvements. From a normative perspective, greater integration between program evaluation and performance measurement can support organizational learning and democratic accountability both at the central and local level.

Suggested Citation

  • Marra, Mita, 2018. "The ambiguities of performance-based governance reforms in Italy: Reviving the fortunes of evaluation and performance measurement," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 173-182.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:69:y:2018:i:c:p:173-182
    DOI: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2017.02.006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fritz Sager & Adrian Ritz & Kristina Bussmann, 2010. "Utilization-focused performance reporting," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(1), pages 55-62, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cheng, An-Ting, 2024. "Evaluating spatial policies without indicators: A study on Taiwan as a developmental state in transition," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 102(C).
    2. Kooli, Chokri, 2019. "Governing and managing higher education institutions: The quality audit contributions," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    3. Chiara Oppi & Cristina Campanale & Lino Cinquini, 2021. "Il problema dell?ambiguit? nei sistemi di misurazione della performance nel settore pubblico: un?analisi della letteratura internazionale," MANAGEMENT CONTROL, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2021(2), pages 11-38.
    4. Chen, Huey T. & Morosanu, Liliana & Powell-Threets, Kia & Lian, Brad & Turner, Nannette, 2019. "Assessment of the monitoring and evaluation system of a population-based program: Theory-driven evaluation approach," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    5. Nicolò, Giuseppe & Raimo, Nicola & Polcini, Paolo Tartaglia & Vitolla, Filippo, 2021. "Unveiling the link between performance and Intellectual Capital disclosure in the context of Italian Public universities," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 88(C).
    6. Lino Cinquini & Cristina Campanale & Flavio Del Bianco & Chiara Oppi, 2021. "Un modello di performance management per mitigare il problema dell?ambiguit? nell?organizzazione della prevenzione collettiva: il caso della Regione Friuli-Venezia Giulia," MECOSAN, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 0(117), pages 77-109.
    7. Afrasiabi, Ahmadreza & Chalmardi, Mazyar Kaboli & Balezentis, Tomas, 2022. "A novel hybrid evaluation framework for public organizations based on employees’ performance factors," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 91(C).
    8. Cunico, Giovanni & Aivazidou, Eirini & Mollona, Edoardo, 2021. "Beyond financial proxies in Cohesion Policy inputs’ monitoring: A system dynamics approach," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 89(C).

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