The importance of subjective data for public agency performance evaluation

John Shingler, Mollie E. Van Loon, Theodore R. Alter, Jeffrey C. Bridger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Evaluating public agency performance has typically been based on objective measurements. However, some researchers contend that evaluation is not complete without considering client perceptions of agency performance. This study supports combining subjective client perceptions with objective data in the evaluation process. Survey results and internal performance data are examined for a state agency charged with investigating citizen disputes with utility companies. Regression analyses show that the factors that most influence the client's satisfaction with agency performance are the client's perception of how long it took to resolve the dispute, based on survey results, and whether the case was decided in the client's favor, from the agency's internal records. The "real" resolution time recorded in the agency's information system was not significant. These results indicate that subjective data provide valuable information for evaluating agency performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1101-1111
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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