TITLE

Goal ambiguity and organizational performance in U.S. federal agencies

AUTHOR(S)
Chun, Y. H.; Rainey, H. G.
PUB. DATE
October 2005
SOURCE
Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory;10/1/2005, Vol. 15 Issue 4, p529
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
In spite of numerous observations that government organizations have high levels of organizational goal ambiguity that exert major influences on their other characteristics, few researchers have measured goal ambiguity and tested these frequent assertions. In previous research, we developed measures of four dimensions of goal ambiguity: mission comprehension ambiguity, directive goal ambiguity, evaluative goal ambiguity, and priority goal ambiguity. Confirming hypotheses developed from the literature on public organizations, the latter three variables showed relations to such organizational characteristics as organizational age, financial publicness (proportion of funding from government allocations), and regulatory status. This article reports a second analytical step of examining the relations between the goal ambiguity dimensions and indicators of organizational performance based on responses to the 2000 National Partnership for Reinventing Government Survey of federal employees. The performance variables included managerial effectiveness, customer service orientation, productivity, and work quality. Regression analyses with numerous control variables found that directive, evaluative, and priority goal ambiguity related negatively to managerial effectiveness. All four performance indicators showed significant negative relationships with evaluative goal ambiguity and directive goal ambiguity. The results provide further evidence of the viability of the new measures of goal ambiguity, support theory-based but previously untested hypotheses, and further indicate the feasibility and value of analyzing goal ambiguity of government organizations.
ACCESSION #
23982456

 

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