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Questioning Performance Measurement: Metrics, Organizations and Power

Questioning Performance Measurement: Metrics, Organizations and Power

April 2019 | 152 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Questioning Performance Measurement: Metrics, Organizations and Power is the first book to interrogate the organizational turn towards performance metrics critically. Performance measurement is used to evaluate a diverse range of activities throughout the private, public and non-governmental sectors. But in an increasingly data driven world, what does it really mean to measure ‘performance’?

Taking a sociology of quantification perspective, this book traces the rise of performance measurement, questions its methods and objectivity, and examines the social significance of the flood of numbers through which value is represented and actors are held accountable.

An illuminating read for students, scholars and practitioners across Organization Studies, Sociology, Business and Management, Public Policy and Administration.

The Performance Revolution
What is Performance Measurement? Nuts, Bolts and Critical Issues
Perspectives on Performance Measurement
Making the Numbers: Performance Measurement in Business
Magical Numbers: Performance Measurement and Public Goods
Rethinking Performance Culture

If you are interested in how individuals, organizations, and entire societies are being increasingly shaped by the application of metrics that capture ‘performance’ – and everyone should be - this excellent book by Guy Redden is insightful, timely and a great read. It provides an important discussion of the social and political implications of measuring everything.

Professor Jenny M Lewis
The University of Melbourne

An engaging and thoroughly researched analysis of a key instrument of organizational steering and governance. A work of critique that never allows itself to be merely polemical, this volume makes a significant contribution to Critical Management Studies and helps us better understand how contemporary organizations think and operate.  

Alan Scott
University of New England

Reddens book provides: a coherent overview of the trajectory of performance measurement (PM) over the past 30 years, a critical discussion of the underpinning assumptions and ideologies of PM, and an overview of the problematics this has created when PM is applied in both the public and private sectors.

For me, the book's success lies in the clarity of argument, and easily accessible wide-ranging research on the what, and so whatof PM. It is useful to find a singular text which analyses both public and private sector approaches.

I would recommend this work to students, researchers and practitioners of all disciplines as an excellent entry point to sense-making.

Melissa Hawkins
Journal of Local Government Studies

This book is well-written, intensely focused, and challenging, possibly disruptive to an administrative mindset that favors easy answers.

Redden’s text goes beyond the typical rhetoric of performance measurement to discuss unintended consequences of these structures on organizations and the connection, to the extent it exists, between measurement activity and improvement and enhancement. 

I heartily recommend the text to those interested in performance measurement in research and practice, and as a great addition to courses on program evaluation or even public budgeting as a supplementary volume.

Christopher Atkinson
International Journal of Public Administration

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