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Politicians' use of performance information in Flemish municipalities

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Abstract
This research explores the status of performance information in a local political setting. Politicians have a different perspective on performance information than the one implied in the New Public Management (NPM) model. Political and economic rationality generate divergent objectives. Therefore, we notice a discrepancy between the intended and the actual use of performance information. The gap between rhetorics and actions is so wide as to provoke scepticism or –according to taste- cynicism (Pollitt & Bouckaert). This dissertation attempts to answer the question of how performance information is used by local politicians within the municipal council. The research builds on empirical findings regarding use of performance information in the political debate and attempts to evidence the presupposed patterns of use. The institutional framework is used in searching answers for the discrepancy and the paradox between intended and actual use of performance related documents. Institutional theory and ter Bogt’s and Van Helden’s framework for studying organisational change might provide a basis to explore and analyse the reasons for using NPM like instruments in public sector organisations (ter Bogt, 2008a: 217). As we intend to study the use of performance information in a true political setting, data are collected from the Flemish municipal councils' official reports completed with case and field study research. Previous research has at the same time come to sceptical and optimistic conclusions about the acceptance and use of performance information by local politicians. Preliminary findings of the first paper suggest that the reference to performance information in municipal councils' debate is still very limited.
Keywords
performance information, New Public Management, local government

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Chicago
Buylen, Bénédicte, and Johan Christiaens. 2010. “Politicians’ Use of Performance Information in Flemish Municipalities.” In Politicologenetmaal, Papers.
APA
Buylen, B., & Christiaens, J. (2010). Politicians’ use of performance information in Flemish municipalities. Politicologenetmaal, Papers. Presented at the Politicologenetmaal 2010.
Vancouver
1.
Buylen B, Christiaens J. Politicians’ use of performance information in Flemish municipalities. Politicologenetmaal, Papers. 2010.
MLA
Buylen, Bénédicte, and Johan Christiaens. “Politicians’ Use of Performance Information in Flemish Municipalities.” Politicologenetmaal, Papers. 2010. Print.
@inproceedings{1181176,
  abstract     = {This research explores the status of performance information in a local political setting. Politicians have a different perspective on performance information than the one implied in the New Public Management (NPM) model. Political and economic rationality generate divergent objectives. Therefore, we notice a discrepancy between the intended and the actual use of performance information. The gap between rhetorics and actions is so wide as to provoke scepticism or --according to taste- cynicism (Pollitt \& Bouckaert). 
This dissertation attempts to answer the question of how performance information is used by local politicians within the municipal council. The research builds on empirical findings regarding use of performance information in the political debate and attempts to evidence the presupposed patterns of use. The institutional framework is used in searching answers for the discrepancy and the paradox between intended and actual use of performance related documents. Institutional theory and ter Bogt{\textquoteright}s and Van Helden{\textquoteright}s framework for studying organisational change might provide a basis to explore and analyse the reasons for using NPM like instruments in public sector organisations (ter Bogt, 2008a: 217). As we intend to study the use of performance information in a true political setting, data are collected from the Flemish municipal councils' official reports completed with case and field study research. Previous research has at the same time come to sceptical and optimistic conclusions about the acceptance and use of performance information by local politicians. Preliminary findings of the first paper suggest that the reference to performance information in municipal councils' debate is still very limited.},
  author       = {Buylen, B{\'e}n{\'e}dicte and Christiaens, Johan},
  booktitle    = {Politicologenetmaal, Papers},
  keyword      = {performance information,New Public Management,local government},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Leuven},
  pages        = {18},
  title        = {Politicians' use of performance information in Flemish municipalities},
  year         = {2010},
}