Effectiveness of outcomes-based performance management : KwaZulu-Natal cases of Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs and of Provincial Treasury.
In a democratic Republic of South Africa, the public service is expected to ensure effective performance that delivers services to all citizens. Public service organisations are obligated to equip employees with adequate skills that build capacity and result in envisaged outcomes where employee performance generates organisational performance. Outcomes-based Performance Management (OBPM) is a system used for performance management in most countries, and is known as the Outcomes Approach (OA) in South Africa. The OA was implemented in 2010 to increase accountability, enhance good governance and to ensure a focus on improving the lives of citizens. Government resolved to prioritise 12 Outcomes, The twelfth outcome and one of its inputs – human resource management and development – are the focus of this study. Toward examining employee perceptions on the effectiveness of OA and whether OA improves human resource management and development, the hypothesis is that implementation of the OA positively affects human resource management and development. In addition the research question raised is to what extent the OA is effectively applied in the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs and of Provincial Treasury. The study employed a mixed method research design and case study strategy. Qualitative data were obtained through interviews, and quantitative data were collected through a survey of senior managers and deputy managers. Secondary data were collected from departmental documents and national and provincial policies. The results illustrate a concurrence of findings from the qualitative and secondary data, however, the results from the quantitative data differ in that they reveal that OA is effective in the departments. Statistical analysis showed a significant relationship between effectiveness of the OA and experience of employees who implement it. Findings reveal that, as to the effectiveness of the OA in these KZN departments, the OA is effective. Human resource management and development are not yet improved by OA and the regression analysis showed that there is currently no relationship between OA and human resource management and development. The study concludes however, with policy implications and a recommended action plan based upon data adduced, on how provincial departments, as learning organisations, can best shift to the OA to improve employee and organisational performance and therefore service delivery to South African citizens.
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