Performance Measurement Systems: National Sport Organisation Perspectives in New Zealand
Macris, Luke Ilia
Performance measurement is a prevalent and accepted management technique used by governments around the world and is an important dimension of New Zealand sport policy. Drawing from performance management and measurement literature (Bevan & Hood, 2006; Bouckaert & Halligan, 2008; De Bruijn, 2006; Hatry, 2006; van Dooren, Bouckhaert, & Halligan, 2010) and, in particular, Norman’s (2002) categorisation of perceptions of the New Zealand public sector, this thesis sought to: (a) investigate how New Zealand national sport organisations (NSOs) perceive and interpret Sport and Recreation New Zealand’s (SPARC) performance measures and funding policies, and (b) identify the unintended consequences that may be occurring within the performance system. The study employed a qualitative approach, with data gathered through document analysis and interviews with twelve selected participants from nine NSOs. Two notable NSO perceptions were found relating to their trust in SPARC and trust in the performance system itself. Although opposing viewpoints were present, most NSOs felt that their relationship with SPARC was strong and based upon support, collaboration, and partnership. In terms of trust in the performance system, the majority of NSOs were ‘True Believers’ or ‘Pragmatic Sceptics’ (Norman, 2002), however it was notable that some participants actively doubted the system. Closely related to these perceptions, three findings emerged. Firstly, belief in the system, resulting from the clarity of focus it provided, was tempered by the perception of an ever-changing political environment. Secondly, the propensity for belief, scepticism and doubt in relation to the performance system differed according to the type of investment (community sport versus elite sport). Thirdly, neither belief nor disbelief in the performance system necessarily translated into compliance.Whether due to a general distrust of the system or a desire to be free from tagged funding requirements and performance measures, some NSOs sought independence from the system. The thesis also outlined the potential unintended consequences of targeted funding. Some NSOs reported ‘self cream-skimming’ and specialising in one area (elite sport or community sport). Others feared that unmeasured aspects (such as talent identification) would fall through the cracks owing to a fixation on existing measures of performance. NSOs also began to institutionalise the logic of targeted investment within their own organisational structures and partnerships at regional / local levels. Finally, there was also evidence (albeit limited) of potential unintended consequences of performance measures of myopia, complacency, misrepresentation of data, and the stifling of co-operation within the system. This research provides a reference point as to the current state of the sport system from the perspective of NSOs, which may be useful in light of the fact that performance systems tend to degrade in effectiveness and legitimacy over time (De Bruijn, 2006; Meyer & Gupta, 1994; van Dooren, et al., 2010; Van Thiel & Leeuw, 2002).
Advisor: Sam, Michael P.
Degree Name: Master of Physical Education
Degree Discipline: School of Physical Education
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: sport organisations; National Sport Organisations; sport policy; New Zealand; performance measurement; performance management; Sport and Recreation New Zealand; SPARC; performance systems; sport management; performance paradox; NSO
Research Type: Thesis