Managing for Citizen Satisfaction: Is Good Not Enough?


  • Brian K. Collins University of North Texas
  • Hyun Joon Kim Korea University
  • Jie Tao University of North Texas



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


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.

Author Biographies

  • Brian K. Collins, University of North Texas
    Brian K. Collins is chair and associate professor in the Department of Public Administration at the University of North Texas. His research interests center on puzzles and questions about policy implementation and management. His substantive areas of interest include civic engagement, citizen satisfaction, intergovernmental granting, and performance measurement.
  • Hyun Joon Kim, Korea University
    Hyun Joon Kim is professor in the Department of Public Administration at Korea University. His research interests include collaborative public management, performance management, and public service design.
  • Jie Tao, University of North Texas
    Jie Tao is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Public Administration at the University of North Texas. His research focuses on performance management, citizen satisfaction, and smart governance.






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