Until recently, public administration mainly used so-called ‘hard indicators’ (like e.g. resources and output) to monitor performance. Increased attention for accountability and the problems that have emerged in relating input, activities and output with effects have stimulated the introduction of ‘soft’ indicators (e.g. satisfaction targets in the budget, Government of Western Australia, 2000). Information on the functioning of separate agencies and programmes is no longer satisfying citizens, politicians, and, indeed, researchers. Instead, there is a demand for information on ‘governance’ as a whole. The recent attention for ‘quality of life’ indicators indicates this (Bennett, Lenihan, Williams, and Young, 2001). The turn to so-called ‘soft’ indicators is a sign of the emancipation of public management and public administration studies from economics, business and management faculties. The World Bank defines governance as “the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development” (World Bank, 1992). Governance refers to steering and has to do with the ability of human institutions to control their societies (Peters, 1995). In its more practical use however, good governance often turns out to be a very broad and value-laden concept (Kofele-Kale, 1999). It is used in the public arena to discourage certain government actions and to promote others, even though the governance definitions themselves do not frequently contain such ethical/moral arguments.

doi.org/10.1177/0020852303693003, hdl.handle.net/1765/41531
International Review of Administrative Sciences: an international journal of comparative public administration
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Bouckaert, G, & Van de Walle, S.G.J. (2003). Comparing measures of citizen trust and user satisfaction as indicators of ‘good governance’: Difficulties in linking trust and satisfaction indicators. International Review of Administrative Sciences: an international journal of comparative public administration, 69(3), 329–344. doi:10.1177/0020852303693003