Measuring and Improving Productivity in Services

Measuring and Improving Productivity in Services

Issues, Strategies and Challenges

Services, Economy and Innovation series

Faridah Djellal and Faïz Gallouj

The definition and measurement of productivity in services raises important conceptual, methodological and strategic problems. This book aims to provide a critical review of the main debates on productivity in the domain of services. The first part examines the theoretical consequences of services specificities on the concept of productivity and reviews the attempts to measure it. The second part is devoted to the main determinants of productivity growth and the strategies to increase productivity in service firms and organisations.

Chapter 4: Internal Steering, Planning and Design Departments in Public Organizations: The Ultimate Test

Faridah Djellal and Faïz Gallouj

Subjects: economics and finance, industrial economics, services


INTRODUCTION This chapter marks a shift in the general organization of the book. Up to this point, we have examined the question of productivity, first in a general way (irrespective of sector). We then investigated it in the context of market services and then of public services, with a special emphasis on the institutional dimensions (firm/organization) or sectors of activity. Our intention now is to penetrate the ‘black box’ of the organization, and in particular of government services. Thus this chapter, like the previous one, focuses on public and government services, but the emphasis now is on the intraorganizational dimension. It can be regarded as an extension to or supplementary section of Chapter 3. The intra-organizational level is of particular interest to decision-makers in firms and public bodies, particularly when they are seeking to compare performances with a view to allocating resources, for example. At this level of analysis as at the others, identification of the output and of the relevant outcome poses certain difficulties. There is also the difficult question of the links between the resources committed and outputs. The output in question here is an intermediate and not a final output. Our starting proposition, which will be analysed in the course of this chapter, is that, as the productivity issue gradually spreads through the government services, it comes up against various difficulties, depending on the type of activity concerned. After all, some functions pose fewer difficulties than others when it comes to de...

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