Combining Participative Action Research with an Adapted House of Quality Framework for the Stakeholder Development of Performance Indicators in Local Government

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Systemic Practice and Action Research


The purpose of this paper is to present and examine how a Participative Action Research (PAR) process and an adapted House of Quality framework were conjoined in the successful development of Performance Indicators for cultural precincts operated by two local government administrations. The use of such a combination has not previously been identified in literature or reported on in practice. The coalescing of PAR with a House of Quality (a quality function deployment framework) in these two empirical cases helps address a methodological gap in knowledge concerning how they may complement and enrich each other in order to generate participant learning, and generate practical outcomes that can underpin continuous and locally relevant service improvement. Through the use of this combination in these cases, public administrators appeared to demonstrate genuine community consultation and, with the community representatives involved, jointly identified, critically evaluated and prioritised a diverse set of community and agency expectations in determining Performance Indicators for their cultural precincts. PAR also underpinned stakeholders’ ownership of the outcomes and refinement of the House of Quality framework. Any difficulties in using this combination in this context are also discussed. Based on the outcomes of this study, we suggest that this combination may have conceptual and practical utility and generate similar benefits in multiple performance measurement development situations in other public organisations.

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