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New public service performance management tools and public water governance: the main lessons drawn from action research conducted in an urban environment

  • Tsanga Tabi, M.
  • Verdon, D.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
DOI: 10.1177/0020852313511574
OAI: oai:HAL:hal-02601707v1
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At a time when, in France, the central government is placing new hope in the principle of governance of its utilities by means of performance indicators, this article argues that governance through performance measurement and management tools alone, however sophisticated, is not enough to meet the current challenges facing public water governance. However, the debate triggered on the objectives of the performance measurement tools raises substantive issues relating to public water governance. These substantive issues touch as much on the (strategic and organizational) components of the model of governance as on its control system. This is demonstrated by the action research experiment conducted in conjunction with the water utility of Nantes Metropole (Urban Community of Nantes), where the introduction of a new performance measurement tool leads the actors within the system to focus on the question of the values that the public water governance model must carry. These values, which relate to the very 'public' and multidimensional component of water, appear in the local governance system under construction as a cornerstone of the model of governance.

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