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ICMA and performance management

Adopted in 1924, the ICMA Code of Ethics defined the principles that today serve as the foundation for the local government management profession and set the standard for excellence. ICMA members pledge to uphold the Code of Ethics in their conduct and decisions in order to merit the trust of the public, elected officials, and staff they serve.

ICMA has played a key role in the history of the development and proliferation of performance measurement and management practices in local government.  Beginning in the February 1937 issue of Public Management (PM), then ICMA Executive Director Clarence E. Ridley and University of Chicago graduate student, research assistant and later Nobel Prize winner Herbert A. Simon co-authored an 11-part series on “measurement standards in city administration.”  The series also included “a vocabulary and a technique” which was applied to 9 specific municipal activities.

“A generation ago a municipal government was considered commendable if it was honest.  Today we demand a great deal more of our public service. It must be not only honest but efficient as well. A number of techniques had been devised to insure honesty—the audit, legal checks, decentralization of authority—but with the shift of emphasis these techniques were found to be inadequate guides to administration.  And so arose the necessity of developing new standards of measurement and appraisal.  They are practical tools by means of which administrators can meet the practical need of choosing between alternate courses of action.” [Clarence Ridley and Herbert Simon, Public Management, February 1937]

What do you think about the excerpt from Ridley and Simon's series and how is your organization embedding performance management into the culture? 

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