Performance Management of a Government Organization: Abu Dhabi’s Experience

Arshad Ashfaque Malik, Muhammd Kaleem Zahir-ul-Hassan, Abdelrahman Zaid Alhadhrami


The purpose of this investigation is to understand how the performance management system (PMS) was implemented and used in a government organization in Abu Dhabi and how the PMS was nestled with specific organizational rationalities and context. This case study used semi-structured interviews and documents and drew upon Ferreira and Otley’s (2009) PMS framework and the Broadbent and Laughlin’s (2009) conceptual model. The former framework was used to understand the functional characteristics and use of PMS in a specific organization and the later model facilitated the understanding of the organizational context and the underlying rationality with respect to PMS. The findings exhibit that the institutionalization of PMS is a slow learning process and needs support of the top management. Specifically, the PMS was implemented in phases spanning over a period of more than five years. There was no unified reward system specifically linked to performance in the PMS and incentives/rewards varied in different divisions. Once implemented at corporate and divisional levels, the PMS was being cascaded down to individual level, to align individual goals/objectives with organizational goals. The paper contributes to the understanding of implementation and operation of PMS within a specific context in Abu Dhabi. The PMS was guided by the context where communicative rationality was dominant and that resulted in the acceptance of PMS by most of the employees. However, the field insights suggest that the case organization needs to invest in the development of human resources to support the operation of PMS. 

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