Performance Information Use

Performance information is key to the communication between the government and public service users. The experiment is designed to explore the perception of public service users about performance information by information types and sources.

The story used survey used vignettes, short stories about performance information in education policy and recycling. The experiments tested public service users’ and managers’ perception to see if they differed.

We asked, across environmental experts and citizens, two research questions

Below are the results from the recycling experiment

  1. We asked, across environmental experts and citizens, two research questions about their assessment of performance.
    • absolute data vs. relative data
    • Internal source vs. external source
    • archival data vs. perceptual data
  2. Which source and type of information is more credible?
    • Internal source vs. external source
    • archival data vs. perceptual data

Research design: survey vignette experiment

  • Example vignettes
  • Three “stories” randomly allocated across our sample of nearly 600 subjects
  • Vignette or story delivered through online survey with pre-test questions
  • Dependent variable: How do you assess the solid waste recycling performance for this story?
Expert Group Citizen Group
Study 1
  • Absolute data: Percentage of recycling achieved
  • Relative data: Recycling reported as top 5% of all shopping malls
  • Both: Percent achieved and top 5%
Study 2
  • Internal data source: Data from internal managers
  • External data source: Environment NGO
  • External data source: Environment NGO
Study 3
  • External data source: Environment NGO
  • Archival data: Top 5%
  • Archival data: Top 5%

Study 1: Performance Data Format (Absolute/Relative)

Absolute data < Relative data >≈ Displaying both data

Difference between treatments are significant in the citizen group (ANOVA F=11.392 p .000), not in the expert group.

Study 2. Performance Data Source

Difference between treatments are significant in the citizen group (ANOVA F=8.256 p .000 for performance assessment; ANOVA F=11.810 p .000 for credibility), and not significant in the expert group.

External source > Internal source

Study 3. Performance Data Type

Citizens (ANOVA F=5.691 p .000) assess mainly archival data higher than others

Citizens (ANOVA F=3.611 p .000) believe archival data is more credible

Archival data > Perceptual data

Implications of results

For public service organizations:

  • Public service organizations should consider providing more targeted and appropriate PI to the users of public services and citizens

For the Hong Kong SAR Government:

  • The HKSAR Government should consider providing PI that, draws on relative data sources and is externally derived to increase performance assessments, satisfaction and the credibility of PIU.

For the Hong Kong public:

  • The Hong Kong public can draw on the findings of this study to request PI that better suits their needs. This could include PI that captures the appropriate dimensions of performance that reflect their expectations service-by-service, provides relative data derived from external data sources, and is ideally archival.

Ref: PPR 2014.A1.010.14E