If performance management is described as an integrated approach to delivering
sustained success to organisations by improving the performance of the people
who work in them, consideration needs to be given to what signals success in public institutions in South Africa. If it is improved or accelerated service delivery,
or quality service delivery, again a question needs to be posed, namely what can
be considered as quality?
Users of services judge the quality of services according to two criteria: firstly
whether services help them to achieve the outcomes they aspire to and secondly
whether services are delivered in ways which empower them. The principle of quality
is consequently examined as aspiring to meet what customers expect, as opposed
to merely meeting specifications. In support, performance management can be used
to firstly keep employees informed of what the organisation is setting out to do or
what quality means to this organisation based on customer expectations; secondly
how well it is doing in delivering quality by satisfying those expectations and thirdly
and most importantly what part they can and do play as team members.
If quality management is approached as cyclical in nature, public institutions
will realise that evaluation should be based on customer expectations if they aim to become institutions that are truly responsive to people’s needs. Apart from performance management supporting quality management in itself focusses on continuous
improvement. If public institutions allow customer expectations to inform standards
and performance expectations, the principle will automatically be adhered to that
quality is what the customer perceives it is.