Public value and satisfaction

Just reading Mark H Moore’s paper from the The Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, Harvard University, The Public Value Scorecard: A Rejoinder and an Alternative to “Strategic Pareformance Measurement and Management in Non-Profit Organizations” by Robert Kaplan, published in May 2003 and available here:

Moore’s analysis of the Balanced Scorecard in terms of the not-for-profit sector is useful is reminding us of some particular issues:

Moore (2003, p. 5) “What the financial measures do not tell them, however, is how much public value they have produced.”

Moore (2003, p. 6) “Nonprofit managers, on the other hand, need non-financial measures to tell them whether they have used their financial resources as effective means for creating publicly valuable results.”

Moore (2003, p. 7) develeops the concepts of the downstream and the upstream “customers” of not-for-profit organisations. The downstream customers are the ones in receipt of good or services whilst the upstream are the donors and governments. I presume in this sense, all tax payers plus the government are upstream, whilst when we are in receipt of a service we are downstream.

However Moore (2003, p. 7) does state that “it is often true that both donors and governments want something different (or more) than the satisfaction of the clients the nonprofit organizations serve.” In that they wish to achieve social outcomes.

Moore (2003, p. eight) focuses on the pooling of resources between not-for-profit organisations leading to the ‘Public Value Strategy’.

Whist attacking the theory that a small number of outcome measures are sufficient, Moore (2003, p.13), he does argue that a mix of outcome, output, process and input measures are a necessity.

A lot of the public value work was covered in ‘Creating Public Value – Strategic Management in Government’, Mark H. Moore, Harvard University Press, 1996. Particlarly Moore (1996, p.36) where an interesting discussion arises over the use of customer satisfaction and examples of where it should or could not be used!

None of this dissuades me from the theory I am proposing, since I believe that satisfaction with service delivery or importantly feedback when not satisfied should lead to improving social outcomes or public value, which can satisfy all the upstream customers at the same time as improving matters for the later downstream ones.

Have a look at his paper if you haven’t come across the Public Value Scorecard, it has some useful ideas.


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