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Performance measurement in The Netherlands police

To prepare for this essay please read the required articles that is attached then answer the following


1)Evaluate the findings of the authors in regards to the validity of introducing performance contracts into a

branch of government in The Netherlands.

2)Analyse the effectiveness of the performance measurement system discussed in terms of crime and

employee satisfaction.

3)Support your argument with evidence from the study and other real examples where possible.

4)Keep in mind this is a public organization and not a business firm.

Performance measurement in The Netherlands police

The success of performance contracts in managing government operations, especially in the
police department, are disputed by the authors, who note that the performance based contracts
are informed by political environment and do not represent the ideal approach to enhancing
performance. Obvious question that arise are: is the performance contract system sustainable?
And what happens when a different political office with varying ideologies comes in? The
argument by the authors is well calculated and this can be explained by the fact that government
agency operations are influenced highly by the office in place and policies are bound to change

with each elected government office. This explains the fear that officials in the police department
have that the situation may change with political reasons.

The fact that performance contracts in the Netherlands government is highly politicized leads to
a question on whether this system is for the benefit of the citizens or for the government officials.
In their argument, Hoogenboezem and Hoogenboezem (2005, p. 573) quote the Mayor of
Beverwijk who notes that the systems will not work to make Netherlands safer while the Mayor
of Utrecht is of the opinion that the performance measurement requirements are just a public
relations instrument. In support of this argument, it can be established that for any system of
performance improvement to work, there must be well set goals and objectives that the
organization seeks to achieve as well as well articulated plans on how this will be achieved
(Binderkrantz and Christensen, 2009, p. 287-291). Such plans must include assuring employees
of what is expected of them as opposed to imposing targets. In the case of Netherlands, it is
apparent that there is no clear goal for using performance contracts as it is mostly for the
government to remain popular among voters. This means that the measures may not be taken
seriously by the executors as observed in the case of the two mayors and this would result to
poor performance.

The authors argue that this system makes executing officers feel trapped between achieving
specific targets and exercising their personal responsibilities as police experts. This is because as
much as they are expected to meet targets, police work is not systematic and there are many
random duties that police must execute in enhancing the safety of the nation. These may not
necessarily be in the performance contract and this may lead officers to feeling like their efforts
are not being fully recognized. This argument is not only valid but it can also be related to

studies on motivation and job satisfaction. Binderkrantz and Christensen (2009, p. 270) note that
while contracts exist, decisions made by supervisors may often override targets as set in the
contract and hence contracts cannot be fully considered complete or precise. It therefore poses a
dilemma for employees who find that the extra duties do not feed into their performance
outcomes. In a similar argument, Tan, S, & Lau (2012, p. 60-61) introduce the concept of
procedural fairness and suggest that in order improve job satisfaction, the organization must
make the performance measurement procedures as fair as possible. Gauging police officers based
on targets only therefore deviates from this goal.

Imposing targets without proper consideration of the consequences that these are likely to have
on the organization’s performance may lead to unintended outcomes as established by Crede et
al (2009, p. 247) This is because employees are likely to focus on targets and give little attention
to quality of service and they may end up taking up unscrupulous behaviors in a bid to meet their
targets. The requirement of police to reach a certain targeted number of fines as explained in this
article is not only detrimental to the department’s ability to improve services but it has also led to
mistrust among citizens. An example as given by Hoogenboezem and Hoogenboezem (2009, p.
574-575) is that the police in a bid to meet targets have been forced to give fines even in
situations which could have been solved differently. They note that the public is offended that
police officers are more concerned with fine-writing in order to meet their targets and thus
neglected the fundamental duty of maintaining security and safety. This phenomena is further
explained by Melnik, Petrella and Richez-Battesti (2013, p 1301-1302) who note that
organizations must ensure that the performance measures put in place will work as desired to
improve treatment outcomes.

The impact of performance systems on the police department can further be analyzed in terms of
employee satisfaction. The use of performance contracts has been proved to have both negative
and positive impact on employee satisfaction (Dusterhoff, Cunningham and MacGregor, 2014, p.
267). In this case for example, it is apparent that the use of set performance targets does not lead
to increased motivation for employees. This is because police work to a significant extent
involves prevention of crime; which may often pass without being noticed. Police men may
therefore feel like their work is not being recognized or included in the performance management
system. This may result in poor performance among the employees as they may feel like they are
not being merited based on their actual performance.

Cullen et al (2014, p. 271) question employee adaptability to uncertainty related to change and
link this to overall job satisfaction and performance. The dilemma that employees are caught up
in is ‘will the changes in the system lead to different expectations and how can one be satisfied
with their job if the future is so uncertain?’ This is a major cause of concern in the police
department, given that the use of performance contracting is highly political and has been
introduced by the government as a means of meeting voter demands. However, what happens
once the current administration leaves office? Will the police be subjected to a different
performance system with different expectations? Such uncertainty as established by Cullen et al
(2014, p. 276) may lead to low job satisfaction and consequently low levels of performance
besides high employee turnover. This can only be reverted if the organization constantly offers
support to employees that will reduce perceived uncertainty.

Performance contracts may have positive impact on employee performance if they are linked to a
reward system as noted by Chomal and Baruah (2014, p. 59). In their research, they establish that

employees are likely to be more committed to the organization if there is promise of a reward
based on their performance. In the case of Netherlands therefore, it is imperative that the
government considers enhancing police officers’ remuneration in order to promote job

In conclusion, the performance measurement system discussed in this paper could either have a
positive or negative impact on crime depending on how it is executed. The authors suggest that
police work is more than routine; and targets based on fines may lead to a diversion of the
police’s core objective of crime prevention. Performance measurement leads employees to focus
only on set goals and this means that they do not utilize their full potential which would
otherwise lead to better job outcomes. This can be directly translated in the police department
where police may work more towards meeting set targets and neglect some of their
undocumented roles; thus leading to poorer crime management.


Reference list

Binderkrantz, A, & Christensen, J 2009, ‘Delegation without Agency Loss? The Use of
Performance Contracts in Danish Central Government’, Governance, 22, 2, pp. 263-293,
Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost,

Chomal, N, & Baruah, P 2014, ‘Performance Linked Reward and Job Satisfaction: Banking
Sector’, SCMS Journal Of Indian Management, 11, 4, pp. 53-60, Business Source Complete,
EBSCOhost, viewed 18 June 2015.

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