Management by objectives in European public employment services

This paper surveys and compares national experience with performance management in European public employment services (PES) in the form of ‘management by objectives’ (MBO). Part I of this paper reviews the relevant performance management literature and defines key terms. Part II presents the results of a stocktaking survey of the use of operational objectives, performance indicators, benchmarking and related managerial practices in all 15 EU Member States and Norway. Part III reports the results of a comparative analysis and more in-depth assessment of national experience with management by objectives in Austria, France, Great Britain, and Sweden. Part IV summarizes principal findings and presents main conclusions. Ten of the eighteen PES organizations surveyed were found to use management by objectives: Austria, Denmark, the Flanders regional PES (VDAB) in Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. In summary, the impact of MBO-systems depends strongly on design and implementation features. If based on principles of ‘good-practice’, MBO can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of PES operations.