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Path exploration for government performance management reform

LIU PENGPENG | 2022-04-28 | Hits:
Chinese Social Sciences Today

A smart city project in Xuchang City, Henan Province, Mar. 8 Photo: CFP

A scientific and effective government performance management system is the breakthrough which will modernize  the system and capacity for governance. To continuously promote the innovative development of government performance management, we should strengthen overall planning from the aspects of institutional construction and mechanism connection, to promote the systematic integration, coordination, and efficiency of performance management systems, leverage performance management as it optimizes organizational decisions, promotes implementation, and stimulates organizational vitality. 

Top-level design
The more arduous reform and development is, the more we rely on strong intellectual support. The reform of government performance management needs not only specialization in government management knowledge, but also knowledge of performance management theoretical tools. The policy combination of “going global” and “bringing in,” should be adhered to. We should gather talent, widely pooling strength and concentrating the wisdom of all parties.
The key to “going global” is to integrate wisdom at home and abroad, and establish an international learning and exchange mechanism. The focus of “bringing in” is to build a platform mechanism that opens the door and asks for policy innovation. The “bringing in policy” promotes the establishment of an external professional third-party service cooperation mechanism, introduces professional third-party think tanks, and promotes the construction of learning organizations.
Reform of government performance management requires not only a top-level design that clarifies the reform direction, but also strong leadership to ensure that reform takes root. Systematic and complete performance management systems, practical organization and implementation routes, efficient and sound organization and leadership systems, are indispensable elements that promote the reform and development of government performance management. A sound leadership system is one of the key factors for the survival and development of any organization.  
Reform and government performance management design should be based on the concept of overall performance. We should build a system-integrated, collaborative, and efficient government performance management system. Through the construction of a systematic and complete performance management system composed of opinions, methods, detailed rules, and supporting regulations, we will comprehensively promote the reform of performance management in an institutionalized way. Organizational strategy determines reform objectives’ realization. To strengthen top-level design, we should plan the overall layout of the innovation, outline performance management development, and clarify the task items, road maps, schedules, and responsibilities—as the methods and strategies for implementing performance management reform. Establishing a management organization system of “decision-making, execution, supervision, and feedback,” to strengthen leaders’ responsibilities, is the organizational guarantee of performance management reform.
Organization is a complex system composed of individuals, posts, processes, and functions. Among them, the process mechanism is the operational core. To improve and optimize the performance management process mechanism, the accurate connection of processes should be the focus of performance management reform and innovation.
Firstly, the “combined appraisal of people and achievements,” should be highlighted. We should promote the organic connection between organizational performance evaluation, political performance evaluation of leading cadres, and personal performance evaluation mechanisms. Secondly, attention should be paid to the organic link between assessment and incentive mechanisms. The application of evaluation results directly affects the effectiveness of assessment, highlights the application of evaluation results, and organically combines positive incentives with accountability and disciplinary action. Finally, we should stress the organic connection between supervision and assessment mechanisms. We should focus on building a closed-loop supervision and examination linkage mechanism which “strengthens process management to promote the realization of target results and guarantees supervision, early warning, and correction with result management,” to realize the bi-directional integration of process management and result management.
Digital performance platforms
Current government performance management reform must strengthen the effective application of emerging technologies to adapt to the pace of the big data era. We should coordinate information construction and accelerate the integration of performance management systems and business function systems as the breakthrough point for reform and innovation, improve informatization and automation levels, and promote digital and intelligent development. We should build a digital performance ecosystem, realize the omni-directional recording and analysis of data in the process of performance generation, accurately analyze and judge needs with this data, assist in the formulation of performance objectives, and accurately track performance dynamics. Expanding the information sources for performance evaluation improves the accuracy of evaluation, which forms a closed management loop—from “goal determination” to “process monitoring” and then to “result evaluation.”
Meanwhile, in addition to facilitating high-quality development of performance management by building the “hard environment,” we should also focus on the soft environment. The vital foundation of continuous and in-depth performance management development is establishing a better performance management concept and creating a sound cultural atmosphere. We should cultivate healthy performance cultures and stimulate the endogenous driving force of organizations as the fundamental foothold to implement performance management reform. To build environments for performance management, we should combine “online and offline” methods and use “training with learning” and “publicity with guidance” philosophies to effectively stimulate the endogenous power and vitality of our organizations.
Liu Pengpeng is from the Institute of Political Science, CASS.
Edited by ZHAO YUAN