Purpose - This paper examines the actual and desired use of performance measures for management and external reporting purposes, as well as perceived impediments to their effective use. Design/methodology/approach - A total of 334 senior administrators in Canadian municipalities participated in this survey study. Findings - Somewhat more efficiency measures than effectiveness measures have been used for various purposes. However, greater use was perceived desirable than actually occurred, particularly for effectiveness measures. A significant increase in the use was expected in the near future especially for effectiveness measures. Internal and external verification of measures was considered important by both internal and external auditors. Although the study also identified impediments to the development and meaningful use of performance measures, performance measurement appears to have been accepted as a useful managerial tool and have significant future potential. Research limitations/implications - The results are limited by the survey method. Practical implications - The results can provide guidance to public-sector administrators and professionals for planning and decision making purposes and to professional bodies and regulatory agencies for developing comparative performance reporting standards. Originality/value - Using the descriptive and normative perspectives, this study provides new evidence in the Canadian context. It concludes that, although the mandatory performance measurement and reporting requirements for municipalities in Canada lag those in the UK, the USA, and Australia, a significant degree of usage occurred voluntary in Canadian municipalities.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Canada, Local government, Performance (public administration), Performance management, Performance measures
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1108/09513550510576125
Journal International Journal of Public Sector Management
Citation
Pollanen, R. (2005). Performance measurement in municipalities: Empirical evidence in Canadian context. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 18(1), 4–24. doi:10.1108/09513550510576125