Johnsen, Åge & Jarmo Vakkuri (2006):

Is there a Nordic perspective on public sector performance measurement?

Financial Accountability & Management Volume 22 Issue 3 Page 291-308, August 2006.




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13/8 2007

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This paper reviews Nordic research on performance measurement that is relevant
for the public sector. The purpose of the paper is to identify a possible
Nordic perspective on performance measurement and discuss potential implications
of such a perspective for performance measurement in public management.
The ‘Nordic model’ is a distinct way of organising society, managing institutions
and conducting politics. It is characterised by a large public sector financed
with high taxes, redistributive welfare services and extensive collaboration
between unions, trade organisations and the state. The Nordic model seems to
have achieved good results regarding flexibility and competitiveness in the
economy, relatively high employment, and prudent public finances. Therefore,
the model has received renewed attention in public policy debates where one
question is how the role of the public sector is contributing to the Nordic model’s
success (European Policy Centre, 2005). A Nordic perspective on public sector
performance measurement may be linked to public management practices,
which could affect the outcomes of the Nordic model. There is at present no
evidence for claiming that public sector performance measurement and management
in the Nordic countries are distinct or have delivered major effects for the
success of the Nordic model. To investigate such a claim is in any case a very
ambitious project. The purpose of this paper – to identify a possible Nordic
perspective on public sector performance measurement – is much more modest,
but could be interesting for the overall picture.