Managing for Citizen Satisfaction: Is Good Not Enough?

Brian K. Collins, Hyun Joon Kim, Jie Tao


Citizen satisfaction is a popular means of performance management. It underscores a common conception that citizens are customers who are concerned about the quality of public goods and services. We offer a theory that suggests the quantity of public goods and services is also important. We develop our theory based on democratic models of the public where citizens are concerned about equity and accessibility to public goods and services. Using data from two municipal surveys and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), we test three hypotheses and find that both quality and quantity of public service provision are significant antecedents to citizen satisfaction. In our conclusion, we explain how these results call for a more complex conceptualization of the performance associated with managing for citizen satisfaction, and we recommend public managers develop and employ skills that recognize the complex consumptive and democratic attributes of citizens in a public economy.


Citizen Satisfaction; Service Quality; Service Quantity; Performance Measurement; Equity

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