Part 1 – Discuss critically the key principles of New Public Management, and their impact on performance measurement in the non-profit sector. (1000 words).
Part 2 – How can performance be measured within the non-profit sector, and how well do systems of performance measurement work? (700 words) LITERATURE REVIEW
Part 3 – Analyse the above within the context of an actual organisation, either your own or one known to you. (700 words) CASE STUDY
• First, decide which public sector or non-profit organisation you wish to focus on. The key point here is to choose one that you know enough about to be able to discuss it in relation to the points that you explored in Parts 1 and 2 of the assignment. This may well be the organisation that you work in or with.
• Then consider which ideas from Parts 1 and 2 you wish to concentrate on in Part 3. Bear in mind, importantly, that the aim of the question overall is to discuss the potential and the challenges of performance measurement in the context of NPM, which means that the case study ought to help with addressing this assignment task. It is thus essential that all three parts of the assignment are logically connected, and that the case study speaks to the issues you have identified before. There is no single ‘right’ way to approach this. The key point is to think about the ideas that you have discussed in Parts 1 and 2, and to draw on some of them in Part 3.
• For example, unpacking this further, we know that one of the influences of NPM has been to emphasise the importance, within public sector organisations, of managing for results. We have also seen that NPM is based on a belief in the role of markets and the importance of the consumer, and on decentralising, devolving and privatisation (Bryson et al, 2014). Underpinning these ideas is the importance of the Principal-Agent relationship, where the principal specifies the results to be achieved and the agent works to achieve them. We have seen too that this set of ideas and influences can be critiqued; these approaches are intended to increase efficiency and effectiveness, but might they also lead to problems such as the kind of unintended consequences that Smith (1995) discusses; fragmentation, loss of focus on collective citizenship or other kinds of challenges or distortions? If you discuss these matters (or others, depending on your chosen focus) in Parts 1 and 2, and then reflect on them in practice within Part 3, your assignment will have the kind of coherence that is needed for a good result.
Approach 2: Critiquing an existing performance measurement system
If your chosen organisation already measures performance systematically, you can answer the assignment question by critically analysing this existing system of performance measurement, to then draw conclusions regarding possible improvements. The analysis of an existing system needs to contain the following elements:
The conclusion should be approximately 300 words and should return to the assignment question and sum up the main insights gained from your analysis. So, what has the influence been of NPM on performance measurement in the non-profit/ public sector; what light has your case study thrown on this; what is your overall conclusion about the benefits or challenges of performance measurement?