Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

Contribution to the Knowledge of Contingent Factors on the Performance of Municipal Services

Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

Contribution to the Knowledge of Contingent Factors on the Performance of Municipal Services

Article excerpt


Public authorities in Cameroon continue to be faced with important challenges, both in terms of allocation of resources and in the satisfaction of the citizens they serve; who continue to insist that public officials deliver a sound quality/price ratio on the services they provide. As in most other African countries, Cameroonians have begun to ask for a greater transparency and opening from decentralized territorial municipalities. Wastefulness of any kind in municipal public services has become unacceptable. The reasons generally invoked are: insufficient control, lack of responsibility by elected officials and staffin charge of the functioning of decentralized territorial municipalities, and especially the absence of an accounting method that includes governance and ethical constraints. According to (Anthony and Young, 1988; Nioche, 1991), this waste is explained by suppressing control a priori without having sufficient regulatory mechanisms in place, and especially by a lack of democratic control over municipal financial accounts that are quite opaque (Berman and Wang, 2001; Meny, 1992). In order to overcome these deficiencies due to mismanagement of public finances, the Account Chamber came into existence and has been operational ever since 2006, outside the highest state audit control already in place. Its principal mission is to ensure that operations linked to expenses are normal and justified. As stated by Meyssonnier (1993), municipalities have a number of informational systems at their disposition: public accounting (financial and mandatory and analytical accounting more or less developed. Our investigations onsite allowed us to note that the use of analytical accounting is still rudimentary in the Cameroonian municipal sector. This is unfortunate since analytical accounting allows us to measure the costs per department, equipment, operation, etc (Evraert and Mevellec, 1991). It also allows us to have an overall view of the resources provided and used by each service individually (Demeestere, 2007). Without entering into a detailed analysis of the difficulties faced by Cameroonian municipalities, a certain number of questions underlie our problematic. First, we must inquire on the nature of the performance measuring systems used by Cameroonian municipal public services. In other words, do the measurements taken by Cameroonian officials allow them to realize the performances within local entities, such as the new documentation on decentralization, balancing and stabilizing public finances, and the implementation of a sector-based accounting plan? In addition, what are the factors likely to influence the performance of Cameroonian municipal public sectors? As stated, the objective of this article is two-fold:

- To contribute in the understanding of the contingency determinants for performance of municipal public services;

- To identify the factors convincible to influence the performance of municipal public services.

Firstly, we present the performance measuring systems as seen through structural contingency factors, and afterwards we specify the hypotheses to verify. Secondly, we will give details on the methodological research steps undertaken. Finally, the third part concentrates on the discussion and the presentation of the main results obtained.


Dependent Variables

Dependent variables were chosen by taking into account the organizational specificities of African municipalities. Because of a general reticence by African municipal officials to publicize their financial statements, particularly by Cameroonian officials, we have measured the performance by a set of six criteria.1 These criteria were personally assessed and evaluated by department managers, as a function of their importance on a five point Likert scale.

Independent Variables

The determinants for municipal performance are grouped into a set of five exogenous variables. …

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