Getting Past “Purposeful”: Exploring Dimensionality in Nonprofit Executive Performance Information Use




Nonprofit Management, Performance Information Use, Performance Management


Although performance information use (PIU) among public managers is a growing and increasingly relevant research area, the existing evidence base has two significant limitations for those interested in its application to nonprofit executives. First, large survey investigations, the predominant method used to assess PIU behaviors, have rarely sampled outside of government. Second, despite theoretical arguments and empirical support for PIU being a multidimensional behavior, only ‘purposeful’ use (i.e., the deliberate and instrumental use of performance information in decision-making to improve organizational operations) has been examined with any regularity. Thus, in addition to developing theory around PIU for nonprofit executives (rather than just public managers within governments), I test established drivers of purposeful and political PIU using survey data from 260 nonprofit executives throughout the United States. Results show that nonprofit executive PIU is driven by different considerations than public manager PIU. Additionally, results show that leadership support of performance measurement is an important driver of purposeful and political PIU, with organizational goal clarity and networking behavior also, specifically, driving political PIU.

Author Biography

  • Clare FitzGerald, University of Oxford

    Clare FitzGerald is a Research Fellow in the Government Outcomes Lab at the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government. Her research focuses on public management, public service contracting, and networks.






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