In this paper we argue that performance measurement can be done better by general, less accurate measurements than by complex - and possible more accurate - ones. The conclusions of this study are drawn from a case study of the Dutch Foundation for Effective Use of Medication. While most studies about performance measurements focus on the management of public service organizations, this case study - informed by the literature from Science and Technology Studies - focuses on the active role of the measurements themselves. In the paper we show that indicators do not have to be as complex as the practices they represent - as long as they are part of a chain of intermediary data that allow travelling from the general or simple indicators to detailed data in day-to-day practices and vice versa. Furthermore, general indicators enable stakeholders to obtain distance from each other. Rather than the involvement of stakeholders, it is this reflexive distancing that explains the degree of compliance to performance measurement and thereby the prospect for effective co-governance.,
Public Administration
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

de Bont, A., & Grit, K. (2012). Unexpected advantages of less accurate performance measurements. How simple prescription data works in a complex setting regarding the use of medications. Public Administration, 90(2), 497–510. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9299.2011.01959.x