The impact of performance measurement in the voluntary sector - Identification of contextual and processual factors

Claire Moxham, Ruth Boaden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - The purpose of this research paper is to identify the impact of contextual and processual factors on the development, use and impact of performance measurement systems in voluntary and community organisations. Design/methodology/approach - The paper reviews the applicability of business and public sector performance measurement frameworks to voluntary organisations. It presents the findings of a study through four case studies and draws conclusions on the impact of measurement systems in the voluntary sector. Findings - The research identifies a low utilisation of performance measurement frameworks and discusses what systems are currently used, how such systems are administered and the impact of measurement on performance. Research limitations/implications - The evidence is based on four micro-voluntary organisations that receive public sector funding. The findings are based on the perceptions of the organisations delivering the services and illustrate the relationship between the public and voluntary sectors. Further, cases utilising a range of stakeholders should be studied to examine the validity, reliability and generalisability of the presented results. However, given that there is practically no empirical evidence at all on this issue at present, the study provides useful evidence that can be further developed. Practical implications - The research findings present contextual and processual barriers to measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of voluntary organisations. For performance measurement frameworks to support current practice, these barriers need to be recognised and addressed. Originality/value - The paper highlights performance measurement implications for a sector that is unaccustomed to scrutiny. As little research has been conducted within this sector, these findings contribute to the body of knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)826-845
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Operations & Production Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Community relations
  • Performance measurement (quality)
  • Voluntary organizations


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