Performance management and the decline of leadership within public services in the United Kingdom

Barry Loveday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article considers the impact of performance measurement and performance management in the public services with particular reference to the police service in the United Kingdom. It suggests that, contrary to the argumentmade withinmuch current managerial literature extolling the values of leadership to effective management, the current emphasis placed on performance measurement serves to reinforce the central importance of management over leadership. This is found to be the case particularly within public service delivery, where the imposition of targets has helped create a tyranny of conformity within public services including the police service. It considers the influence of a target culture and the rise of deliverology in public services, arguing for the development of a more sophisticated ‘systems approach’ to service delivery. This would help sustain a citizen focus based on effective local feedback mechanisms,which might encourage a renaissance of leadership qualities while also encouraging public services to become far less risk averse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-130
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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