Professor Praja Trivedi on Performance Management in Government

What keeps the government from being as effective as it can be (or should be)? How can performance management systems help government perform better? What more needs to be done? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with Prof. Praja Trivedi, author of Performance Management in Government: A Primer for Leaders.

Broadcast Date: 
Monday, October 28, 2019 - 09:00

Performance Management in Government: A Primer for Leaders

Governments are complex, multi-layered organizations and, not surprisingly, government effectiveness and efficiency have many dimensions. As such, we clearly need a multidimensional approach if we wish to create a government that works better, faster and more cheaply. Our approach should also be comprehensive, covering all aspects of government performance – static, dynamic, quantitative and qualitative.

However, the diversity that exists among nations and their governments tends to obscure three key facts.

Performance Management in Government - A Primer for Leaders

However, the diversity that exists among nations and their governments tends to obscure three key facts. First, many of the problems involved in managing government are a result of a few underlying causes. Second, the underlying causes of poor government performance are similar in nature across a diverse set of countries. Third, countries have successfully dealt with these (few) underlying causes using remarkably similar approaches. Viewed in this light, the challenge of government performance management appears more manageable.

Performance Management versus Perception Management in Government

Often leaders assume that if they create a good performance management system it will be recognized and appreciated by voters for what it is worth and their popularity will go up. Alas, the causal relationship between the creation of a performance management system in the government and perceptions about the performance of the government is not as straightforward as it may seem.

Measuring the Gap between Perception and Reality

Evolution of Performance Management in Government

First, as argued in an earlier column, there is a big difference between comprehensive, whole-of-government approaches (budgeting, performance budgeting, outcome-budgeting and performance agreements) and partial approaches to performance improvement (ISO 9000, Lean Sigma, etc.). Partial approaches are akin to arranging chairs on the deck of Titanic. In a dysfunctional system, looking for pockets of excellence is a futile exercise.

Prajapati Trivedi

Prof. Prajapati Trivedi is a Senior Fellow (Governance) with the IBM Center for The Business of Government and Commonwealth Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Sustainable Development Goal Implementation. Previously, he was the Senior Director heading the Economic, Youth, and Sustainable Directorate of the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, UK. In this position, he also reported directly to the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Implementing Big, Bold Goals (Part One)

In a three-part blog series, I will outline a path that I proposed at a UN-sponsored meeting in Switzerland this past April. This first blog deals with the imperative of converting SDG vision into action and highlights the conspicuous absence of implementation mechanisms in the SDG discussions.

Implementing Big, Bold Goals (Part 2)

This is the second in a series of blogs that outline a path that I proposed at a UN-sponsored meeting in Switzerland this past April. 

Implementing Big, Bold Goals (Part 3)

This is the third and last in a series of blogs (read the first and second blogs) that outline a path that I proposed at a UN-sponsored meeting in Switzerland this past April.

 

How Can Countries Make and Document Progress Toward Multi-National Sustainable Development Goals?

Rethinking Performance Audit Methodology in Government

Increasingly, Supreme Audit Institutions in most countries (e.g., the US Government Accountability Office, the UK’s National Audit Office) are allocating a greater share of their resources in order to conduct Performance Audits of government entities. Yet serious academic work examining the methodological foundations of Performance Auditing is conspicuous by its absence in the extant literature on Performance Auditing. In what follows, I will argue that it is time to rethink the Performance Audit Methodology and offer a possible way forward.

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Senior Fellow (Governance), the IBM Center for The Business of Government, and Special Envoy for Sustainable Development Goal Implementation
Commonwealth Secretariat, London
United States

Prof. Prajapati Trivedi is a Senior Fellow (Governance) with the IBM Center for The Business of Government and Commonwealth Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Sustainable Development Goal Implementation. Previously, he was the Senior Director heading the Economic, Youth, and Sustainable Directorate of the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, UK. In this position, he also reported directly to the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

From 2009-2014, he worked as a Permanent Secretary to the Government of India in the Cabinet Secretariat, Prime Minister’s Office, where he was responsible for designing a highly regarded whole-of-government performance monitoring and evaluation system for government departments and reporting the results to the Prime Minister of India. He worked as a Senior Economist with the World Bank from 1995-2009; Economic Adviser to Government of India (1992-1994) and a Chaired Professor of Public Sector Management at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (1987-1992). He has taught at many leading universities in the world and continues to teach economics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as a visiting faculty.

He studied for B.A. (Economics Honours) from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, (where he was honoured with the C.F. Andrews Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2012); M.Sc. (Economics) from the London School of Economics in 1974 and Ph.D. (Economics) from Boston University in 1985. Author of four books and several academic papers, he has worked in more than 50 countries around the world. He is the first Indian to receive the International Public Administration Award by the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) in recognition of his significant contributions to the field of public administration as a scholar and practitioner. He is also the first Indian to be elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), Washington, DC. In March 2019, he received the Harry Hatry Distinguished Performance Management Practice Award for 2019 in Washington, DC, awarded by the Center for Accountability and Performance (CAP) of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA).

View his video series on government performance management!

Listen to Praja's interview with Business of Government Hour host Michael Keegan.

 

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