Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Identification and Performance Management: An Assessment of Change-Oriented Behavior in Public Organizations

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Identification and Performance Management: An Assessment of Change-Oriented Behavior in Public Organizations

Article excerpt

Introduction

The drive for performance in public organizations has led to the adoption of a wide range of innovations intended to contribute to this goal (Walker, Damanpour, & Devece, 2011). In particular, the promise of the use of performance information to improve organizational performance has been central to the public reform agenda of the past decades (Behn, 2002; Boyne, 2010; Moynihan & Pandey, 2005). Performance management (PM) techniques are used in various ways. As a managerial practice, PM entails the utilization of performance information in the process of strategic decision making to improve organizational performance (Moynihan, 2008). At the employee level, PM involves defining goals, setting performance targets, and appropriately incentivizing workers to meet them. The promise of PM is grounded in the idea that clear, measurable goals, coupled with reward accountability, will encourage employees to act in the interests of the organization of their own volition, thereby making less efficient systems of organizational control unnecessary (Eisenhardt, 1989; G. Lee & Jimenez, 2011). However, while scholars have begun to address the link between PM and public organizational performance (see Poister, Pasha, & Edwards, 2013, for a recent summary), less research has focused on the question of its micro, employee-level effects. Given the scope of PM reforms in public organizations, understanding how PM impacts the attitudes and behaviors of frontline employees can be viewed as a significant research goal.

This study aims to address two questions. First, to what extent is PM related to the intentions of frontline employees to engage in organizationally beneficial change-oriented behavior? The concept of change-oriented organizational citizenship behavior (CO-OCB), a construct with roots in private sector organizational behavior studies (Bettencourt, 2004; Morrison & Phelps, 1999) and recently introduced to the public administration literature by Vigoda-Gadot and Beeri (2012), captures the extent to which employees are willing to challenge existing practices to introduce functional change into their organizations, thereby improving work outcomes. While PM's focus on results makes the construct an intuitive fit with change-oriented behavior, this study aims to establish this link empirically. Second, based partly on principal-agent theory, a central mechanism through which results-based management improves individual performance is the harmonization of individual and organizational goals (Eisenhardt, 1989). Based on this and other reasons, this study also focuses on the potential mediating role of organizational identification (OI) in the relationship between PM and CO-OCB. Employees who identify strongly with their organizations consider the values, goals, and fate of the organization to be their own, thereby encouraging them to act in the interests of the organization (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). While 01 has cemented itself as a foundational construct in organizational behavior studies (Albert, Ashforth, & Dutton, 2000; Ashforth, Harrison, & Corley, 2008), public administration scholars have said little about what role OI may play in public organizations. This study thus explores the potential links between PM, CO-OCB, and OI, and tries to unpack the relevance of these relationships for public organizations.

This study is organized as follows. Following a review of the relevant literature, this study uses survey data gathered from South Korean central government organizations and structural equation modeling (SEM) to test empirical hypotheses regarding the relationships between PM, CO-OCB, and OI. Over the past decades, South Korea has embraced performance-oriented reforms throughout the public sector in an attempt to overcome traditional characteristics of public organizations perceived to hinder change and performance (Im, Campbell, & Cha, 2013; P. S. Kim & Hong, 2013). …

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