Author

Stacey Tice

Date of Award

Summer 8-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

J. Beth Mabry

Second Advisor

Dana Hysock Witham

Third Advisor

Melissa Swauger

Abstract

This study explores how the implementation of performance measurement affects organizations and staff members of nonprofit human service agencies. Performance measurement is defined in this study as the general activities used to collect and report information about a program’s effectiveness and efficiency with the intent of using the information for monitoring, resource allocation, or improvement of the program. Qualitative research methods were used to examine the perceptions nonprofit managers and caseworkers had about the effect of performance measurement and funding accountability requirements on service provision in their organizations. The study included semi-structured interviews of 28 employees, 21 caseworkers and seven managers, across seven agencies who provide employment and training programs.

The results of this study suggest that performance measurement is used primarily as a monitoring tool and not used effectively as a tool for program improvement. Although agencies collect extensive data to demonstrate compliance there is no consideration of factors that affect the reliability and validity of the information concerning client outcomes. More crucially, from the caseworker’s perspective the information gathered for performance measurement in the E&T programs did not clearly reflect the goals of those programs.Not only are the data and data collection processes not very useful for enhancing program delivery, but existing performance measurement activities may interfere with organizational effectiveness. For example, staff training on data collection and entry into computer systems for reporting have supplanted training for caseworkers on providing quality services to the people served by those programs. Performance measurement activities are intertwined with other program activities, so it is difficult to distinguish the effect of performance measurement activities from other processes. However, it is clear from the perspectives of individuals providing services that feedback received from performance measurement activities is not useful for improving service delivery and by extension improving organizational effectiveness. These findings suggest all stakeholders would benefit from more collaborative processes to design performance measures and processes, and intentional incorporation of ways that performance data will be used to improve programs and organizational effectiveness.

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