Actual Performance Management Practices in Saudi Public Organizations

Brief introduction/Overview

Actual research performance management practice in the public sector in Saudi Arabia has become an interest of business communities and the general public. Actual performance in the public sector has been restricted in the past on delivery of services and financial performance. However, an order has changed in past few years and the behavioral performance has been given a front seat in the pubic sector today. This means that actual performance does not only rely on financial performance and delivery of services but incorporates various factors which can be used to influence investments, in a country efficient delivery of services control of economic affairs of a country and infrastructure planning and development (Otley D., 2001). Therefore, improved performance in the operations of government and its departments will see a country grow faster. This is due to the fact that there will be less bureaucracies and making a saving on the public funds which could have been waster through corruption and wise decision making. Therefore actual performance practice enhances accountability in the public sector and ensures that a general public receives the services they deserve.

The purpose of this research is to investigate actual performance practice of Saudi Arabia public sector in managing the tax payers money as well as delivery of services.

Research questions/Hypothesis

  1. The research questions that will guide this research includes what are the actual performance management practices that are used in Saudi Arabia public sector?
  2. Which approaches that will be used to improve performance management practice in Saudi Arabia.
  3. How does the practiced performance measurement influence delivery of services and the inflow of capital to Saudi Arabia?
  4. Are the practice performance management practices in Saudi Arabia attaining the objectives targets and measures of the single service in Saudi Arabia?
  5. What hinders effective performance management practices in Saudi Arabia?

Literature review

The literature review is aimed at development of performance metrics; the need to categorize them and to use these metrics as criteria for evaluation. A few of the methods currently being for selection of logistics vendor is also reviewed.

Performance Metrics

In order to gauge the effectiveness and efficiency of key processes it is important to measure their performance (Otley D. 2001). Measuring performance may provide an in-depth understanding of the actual performance in practice, their characteristics and improve its overall performance (Neely, Gregory and Platts, 1995)). Performance management practice is defined as a process of quantifying the effectiveness and efficiency of action (Neely et al., 1995). Measuring performance is translating the complex reality of performance into a sequence of limited symbols that can be communicated and reproduced under similar circumstances (Nørreklit, 2000).

Nørreklit (2003) proposes few inherent characteristics for an effective performance management practice. These are inclusiveness, universality, measurability and consistency. In order to measure the efficacy of a process it is important to benchmark the same. Benchmarking serves as an ideal tool for identifying improvement (Mackay, 2004).

In view of such large numbers of performance measures, it is important to categorize them. Categorization helps the measures to be compared and analyzed so that performance measurement selection within a category can be easier (Otley, 2001). Nørreklit (2003) proposes 4 categories in his paper, including quality, time, flexibility and cost. Kasurinen (2002) argued that there should be synchronization between a measurement system and the overall objectives of the firm. Chenhall R.H. (2005) indicated that the performance measures depends on the level at which the measurement is done e.g. activity level, functional area level.

To address the shortcomings of performance measurement systems many researchers and academicians have proposed different measurement methodologies.

Assumes but does not specifically categorize the metrics for measurement of Information Technology which is an important tool for increasing visibility and improving channel synchronization imperative for measuring supply chain collaboration (Cadez S and Guilding, 2008).

To augment the model, few researchers have proposed an integrated mechanism that uses different decision making tools to treat multi-criteria variables.

Multiple performance measures still have more problems considering that diversity of performance measure gives rise to more lenient ratings of performance in addition to hav8ing less differentiation among employees. Other scholars (Kaplan and Norton 2001) argue that, even though the Balanced Scorecard ought to be used as a part of the system of the strategic management, it can be connected to incentive compensation. They posit that ‘returns on incentives can be anchored on twenty five strategic measures’ without creating any troubles (Kaplan and Norton 2001, p.152). Nonetheless, this is far in excess of the mean number of performance measures by more than five times and in fact this far exceeds 3 times the highest number of such measures employed in a typical research. For this reason, it could be questioned the effectiveness of using a balanced scorecard which comprises a large number of performance measures for measurement of performance as well as applying it in the reward system more so where the superior has prudence that would enable him to weight the measures. One great impediment however is that there would be bias in performance evaluation if subjectivity is applied. What this means is that in case subjectivity is applied in the evaluation and reward system for employees then there would be manipulations from the superiors where they set higher performance ratings while at same time compressing them. This would result in a complication where the firm would not be able to separate those employees who are highly skilled from those who are less skilled. It implies that in case the promotion decisions would be difficult tom make in the firm especially if the decisions determined by the skills and competencies of employees (Otley, 2001).

Importance of the research

This research will have a great importance to both student’s researchers private sector public sector and other academicians as it will cover a topic that is rarely researched in Saudi Arabia. There is only limited research in the topic thus the belief that the research will be of great importance to the current and future researchers. The research will provide a good understanding on how Saudi Arabia Civil service is managing their operations and the factors that influence their operations.

The research having its setting in a developing country will also provide literature for developing countries to change and implement good performance management practices.

Methodology of the research

The research will be in a form of a case study which will be out of research objectives of the use of performance management practices in a public sector. These objectives will consider the practices to be investigated in Saudi Arabia public environment. Therefore a case study is suitable for this research. the case study is always qualitative in nature because it will provide description of [performance measurement in the public sector. There is expected use of some primary and secondary sources in dealing with this case. Make an exhaustive list of resources – online, journals, reference books etc.

The research with relevance to the above stated aspects is conducted by reviewing secondary data which is readily available. The various sources of secondary data that have been reviewed as part of this research are – a large number of international journals, books and obviously the World Wide Web.

There are basically two types of research methods that are prevalent. They are primary research which can further be classified into qualitative research and quantitative research and secondary or desk research. If a qualitative research method is adopted, it is possible to explore various attitudes and perceptions. This method also helps in understanding how such attitudes and perceptions were formed. In depth information can be obtained through qualitative research which further helps in the determination of the subsequent attributes of the study (Napier University).

Data Validity can be defined as the accuracy or precision of the data that has been collected. As stated above, data validity in turn is connected with the quality of the research. Another aspect which is a part of data validity is the reasonableness of the collected information. Reasonableness can be explained as to how sensible the collected data is. Data Reliability is referred to as to how honest or trustworthy the collected data is. When conducting mail interviews, one disadvantage is that the collected data may not be reliable. People upon whom the data is to be collected and the people who actually give the information may be different. That way, the data so collected will lack reliability.


  1. Cadez S and Guilding. (2008); An exploratory investigation of an integrated contingency model of strategic management accounting; Accounting, Organizations and Society 33 (2008) 836–863.
  2. Chenhall R.H. (2005); Integrative strategic performance measurement systems, strategic alignment of manufacturing, learning and strategic outcomes: an exploratory study; Accounting, Organizations and Society 30 (2005) 395–422.
  3. Kaplan R.S. and Norton D. P.(2001); Transforming the balance scorecard from performance measurement to strategic management; American Accounting Association
  4. Kasurinen T. (2002); exploring management accounting change: the case of balanced scorecard implementation; Management Accounting Research, 2002, 13, 323–343.
  5. Liz Murby L. and Gould S (2005); Effective Performance Management with the Balanced Scorecard Technical Report; CIMA.
  6. Lord B. R. (1996); Strategic management accounting : the emperors new clothes? Management Accounting Research , 1996 , 7 , 347 – 366
  7. Mackay A. (2004); A Practitioners’ Report Based on: ‘Shareholder and Stakeholder Approaches to Strategic Performance Measurement Using the Balanced Scorecard’ CIMA.
  8. Neely A., Gregory M. and Platts K. Performance measurement system design:A literature review and research agenda; International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 15, No. 4, 1995, pp. 80-116. © MCB University Press, 0144-3577
  9. Nørreklit H. (2003); The Balanced Scorecard: what is the score? A rhetorical analysis of the Balanced Scorecard Accounting,Organizatio ns and Society 28 (2003) 591–619.
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  12. Otley D.(2001); Extending The Boundaries Of Management Accounting Research: Developing Systems For Performance Management; British Accounting Review (2001) 33, 243–261; avail

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