Performance and Management in the Public Sector: Testing a Model of Relative Risk Aversion

Source: Sean Nicholson-Crotty, Jill Nicholson-Crotty, Sergio Fernandez, Public Administration Review, Early View, August 17, 2016
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From the abstract:
Research has demonstrated that management influences the performance of public organizations, but almost no research has explored how the success or failure of a public organization influences the decisions of those who manage it. Arguing that many decisions by public managers are analogous to risky choice, the authors use a well-validated model of relative risk aversion to understand how such choices are influenced by managers’ perceptions of organizational performance. They theorize that managers will be less likely to encourage innovation or give discretion to employees when they are just reaching their goals relative to other performance conditions. Analyses of responses to the 2011 and 2013 Federal Employee Viewpoint Surveys provide considerable support for these assertions. The findings have significant implications for our understanding of the relationship between management and performance in public organizations.