Controlling the control system: Performance information in the German childcare administration Article

Kroll, A, Proeller, I. (2013). Controlling the control system: Performance information in the German childcare administration . 26(1), 74-85. 10.1108/09513551311293435

cited authors

  • Kroll, A; Proeller, I


  • Purpose: The purpose of this article is to improve understanding of the use of performance information in the public sector. Design/methodology/approach: The article is based on a comparative case study in the field of German childcare administration. Two cities have been selected based on the variation of their performance measurement systems. Findings: It is found that a higher complexity and sophistication of the measurement system fosters the use of performance data by civil servants. At the same time, such a comprehensive control system seems to undermine the steering ability of local politicians. Referring to agency theory, it is argued that complex data systems can increase information asymmetries in favour of bureaucrats. Research limitations/implications: Since the findings are based on two cases, the paper does not make any claims about their generalisability for a particular population. Instead, the paper uses in-depth observations to better inform and enhance an existing hypothesis. Practical implications: The results emphasise the importance of user-specific performance reporting. The paper suggests thinking of the adoption of management innovation as a temporal process where measurement complexity can be balanced over time by customised reporting. Originality/value: This article is innovative as it focuses on two user groups of performance data simultaneously. The results show that this approach adds value because observations vary based on the perspective of the different users. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

publication date

  • January 31, 2013

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 74

end page

  • 85


  • 26


  • 1