Academic journal article South Asian Studies

Performance Management in Public Sector: A Case of Civil Service in Pakistan

Academic journal article South Asian Studies

Performance Management in Public Sector: A Case of Civil Service in Pakistan

Article excerpt


Performance management is an extremely important activity among human resource management functions of any organization. Performance evaluation and management helps in demarcating good and not so good performers, in other words, it does not let spurious coins jostle with genuine currency. To measure and then manage performance is very important because performance management is a barometer to gauge overall organization's wellbeing and its contribution to society. Without measuring and managing performance, direction cannot be ascertained and in the words of Alice in Wonderland, if one does not know where one wants to go (that is direction), then any road can take anywhere. So, that sense of direction is being provided by performance management. Performance management, therefore, is a comprehensive, integrated, strategic and intensive activity having wide ranging effects.

In the context of Civil Service in Pakistan including both Federal and Provincial Civil Service, the primary mechanism to measure performance is Performance Evaluation Report (PER), previously known as Annual Confidential Report (ACR). This report is being filled by the higher ups of incumbent civil servants and the exercise takes place annually. There are inherent problems in the management of performance using the current practice as the incumbents suffer promotion to the higher grades on the ground of inadequate performance. Hence, performance management is an important area of research to be analyzed critically in order to remove its weaknesses if any and keeping the strengths towards improvements.

Literature Review

Looking at performance of employees as critical success factor has become a common practice in organizations. Performance focuses on measurement (de Bruijin, 2001) as well as on human resource management (Flynn and Strehl, 1996). In government sector, performance means capabilities for managing (Ingraham, Joyce& Donahue, 2003). Performance managementhas now become an important activity in addition to other management activities (Halligan, 2001). Performance management can be interpreted both as measurement and management including information and action (Bouckaert and Dooren, 2002). It involves responsibility for the performance as well as accountability for results (Pollitt and Bouckaert, 2000). It is a process which is present throughout the organization which harmonizes and aligns each employee with the overall strategy of the organization (Rogers, 1990). In government sector, it is aimed at the maximum achievement of goals (Management Advisory Committee, 2001). Performance management is often considered a joint exercise carried out by managers and employees to; plan for organization, collectively decide job description, ensure alignment of job with the philosophy of organization and decide performance management system and procedure.

Brown (2005) notes many different reasons for introducing performance management. Among those reasons are organizational and/or employees' effectiveness, organizational and/or employees' efficiency, motivation of employees, pay for performance, accountability; and alignment of employees' objectives with those of the organization. Performance management today has become a vital component of modern management arrangements (Pollitt & Bouckaert, 2004). Importance of the concept is many folds in public sector because it is responsible for the management and administration of public. Performance measurement in public sector is a public bargain as it provides services to public and responds to their demands (Yang and Holzer, 2004). Performance management helps in strengthening other management processes, making decisions, enhancing legislative oversight and increasing accountability (Ammons, 1995).

The public sector has an enormous variety of organizations settled in different industries, operating in political and economic contexts with various interests (Rantanen, Kulmala, Lonnqvist, &Kujansivu, 2007; Ema, 2012). …

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