Benchmarking and performance measurement in public sectors

Alexander Kouzmin, Elke Löffler, Helmut Klages, Nada Korac-Kakabadse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


Given the prevailing emphasis on agency performance, customer focus, stakeholder's interests and other methods of assessment under new public administration and prevailing managerialism in many public sectors around the world, administrative practitioners have taken to benchmarking as an instrument for assessing organizational performance and for facilitating management transfer and learning from other benchmarked organizations. The introduction of benchmarking into the public sector is still in its early stages. Technical problems, scepticism about usefulness and the appropriateness of transferring putative private sector competencies into public administration and the resistance in accepting organizational change as a necessary consequence of benchmarking exercises in the public sector, prevent the widespread acceptance and use of benchmarking in public sectors, arguably "punch-drunk" with systemic change. Nevertheless, there are some encouraging examples of benchmarking within the public sector. This paper critically analyzes these examples in order to establish the vulnerability points of such measurement instruments which, possibly, need more research in order to establish the specific leaning dimensions to benchmarking and to illustrate the importance of such benchmarking and learning within the highly risky, information technology (IT)-driven experiences of systems development and failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-144
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Public Sector Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1999


  • benchmarking
  • information technology
  • learning
  • performance assessment
  • quality assurance
  • self-assessment


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