I Think (I Am Doing Well), Therefore I Am: Assessing the Validity of Administrators' Self-Assessments of Performance

Kenneth J. Meier, Laurence J. O'Toole

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    88 Citations (Scopus)


    Several prominent public management data sets rely on administrators' and sometimes bureaucrats' self-assessments of how their programs or organizations are performing. While subjective assessments of performance, particularly by clientele, are valuable, assessments by administrators raise the issue of bias. Even if there is no systematic bias, such assessments may still be problematic statistically. This analysis uses original survey and archive data to systematically compare administrative self-assessments of performance with other performance indicators. The results show that administrators' perceptions of performance are biased in predictable ways, that these biases do not reflect sophisticated assessments of organizational situations, and that the measures can produce spurious results. We caution against using administrators' perceptions of performance without other corresponding performance indicators
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-27
    JournalInternational public management journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • IR-86861
    • METIS-297090

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