Performance management is primarily known to be a process that encourages collaboration for the members of the local administration. For the Riyadh City Council, they have encountered a number of concerns that must be addressed though performance management standards and practices. For instance, they have experienced problems with improving the methods for keeping up with rapid changes such as civilizational shifts or new lifestyles among community members (Al-Nuaim 2001). To consider services for health, safety, and security, housing plans, and preservation of the environment and historical sites has become a challenge for Riyadh’s local administrators. Moreover, most often, the public’s opinion on the policies implemented by the City Council as well as on the implementation of projects and activities, and the performance of the governing body, has created difficulties for mayors and the rest of the administration in developing their community (Al Riyadh 2004). Because of these, the Riyadh City Council has aimed to boost their performance by focusing on the capability of their workforce, enhancing their projects by being consistent with the community’s needs, and providing their administration with the necessary procedural and managerial specialisations. One weak point that the local city councils in Riyadh has demonstrated is that they are not very capable of integrating various departments for planning and implementation, hence, reducing their likelihood for accomplishing main goals. The Royal Decree No. 5 in Riyadh has mandated the division of municipalities and villages along with the regulations and functions that go with them. Although municipalities have been given administrative and financial autonomy with which authorities and obligations are extended, regional decentralization has not been fully achieved through the administrations’ actual performance. Moreover, mayors and deputy directors lack the proper guidance and follow-up measures in securing the coordination of administrative practices and activities, and maintaining a good level of performance and usage of performance management approaches.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the performance management system of Riyadh City Council?
In relation, it aims to address the following objective:
1. Identify the strengths and weaknesses with regards to the performance management system in the Riyadh City Council.
2. Provide recommendations on the areas that need further improvement in the performance management system of the Riyadh City Council.
Review of Related Literature
The local and municipal government of Riyadh has aimed to improve and develop their local community by reaching out to the public as well as understanding and finding solutions to various problems. This ability occurs by allowing the local administration to interact with the community which brings about the effective involvement of citizens in relevant activities, thereby increasing the likelihood for national participation in the development process. In order to allow such circumstances to occur, there is a need to look into how the Riyadh City Council sets their standards for performance management as well as the actions that they take to generate favorable outcomes.
Performance Management: An Overview
The important need for implementing an effective and well-organized performance management system has significantly increased over the years. This has occurred due to the fact that performance management can not only enhance performance but the quality of a company as well (Lawson, Stratton, and Hatch 2003). Without the necessary regarding the implementation of systems for performance management, organizations can experience inefficiency and decreased productivity, thus the need to further look into the components of successful performance management. The concept of performance management can be applied on the performance of either the organization as a whole or the individual managers and leaders with regards to their achievement of goals. Moreover, performance management can also be considered as a system that evaluates employees in order to assist them in addressing objectives and ensuring that the organization demonstrates improved performance (Pollanen 2002). This includes activities and processes that help ensure that these goals are being realized in a consistent and efficient manner. The concept of performance management is closely associated with the management of system and employee performance to help the organization in achieving desired results. On the whole, a system for performance management includes a number of fundamental processes- planning of work and setting of expectations, monitoring of work performance, developing and improving the ability of staff members to perform work, measuring and evaluating performance, providing opportunities for learning and development, and rewarding good/excellent performance.
Performance management can significantly result to a wide range of benefits for various organizations. This may include financial gains that are brought about by growth in sales or reduction in costs; motivating the members of the workforce, for instance, by providing development programs that are aligned with the achievement of organizational goals or incentive plans; and improving management control by being able to demonstrate more flexible means of addressing management needs and enhancing methods for goal communication. On the whole, to gain such benefits from performance management, organizations should be able to prepare themselves for identifying and addressing both opportunities and threats that have to be coped with while implementing a system for performance management (de Waal and Counet 2008).
Requisites of Effective Performance Management at Riyadh City Council
Nonetheless, performance planning and management have still been achieved through a number of ways in the Riyadh City Council such as through open and strong communications with departments that participate in service delivery and administration. For instance, the municipality of Riyadh arranges regular meetings with other region’s municipalities and discusses the concept of local performance and administration as well as the management methods applicable to the current and possible future issues (Al Riyadh 2004).
Meetings such as these provide local administrators to interact and exchange ideas for community management and improving the performance of their local public sector employees toward the public, thereby significantly contributing to the administrative experience for overall management. The presentations provided in such meetings allow the Riyadh City Council to look at new approaches with which they can come up with appropriate decisions to enhance government work performance and respond to the population’s requirements. Discussing the management of their performance as administrators allows the governing body to identify the obstacles for local decision making regarding the management of cities, planning relevant activities, and focusing on the management of risks. This way, they can align their actual performance in accordance to the expectations of the community whom they have promised to serve. Reportedly, such meetings have had positive outcomes particularly manifested through their workers’ performance.
The role of the mayor and other high ranking officials was also emphasized- that they should be actively involved in their city’s urban development. Through working papers, academic and practical information are presented to discuss possible various experiments and programs; gathering information can improve the performance of public sector employees and contribute to the motivation of citizens for their participation in community development (Ritz 2009). Furthermore, continuous provision of training opportunities for civil servants allow them to accomplish goals through the enhancement of competencies and increase of both general and specialized knowledge, increasing the possibilities of favorable solutions and innovations and motivating the public to establish trust towards these civil servants’ performance (Al Riyadh 2004).
The Riyadh City Council has encountered a number of challenges to managing and monitoring performance as they lack consistent performance measurement standards with which performance plans and actual performance can be aligned with goals. Measurement of competencies is also strongly suggested as employees play the most important role in delivering services to the public and demonstrating the actual performance of the government; therefore, assessing the skills and behaviours which civil servants should possess and comparing these with actual performance can help enhance competencies and prevent future problems regarding public service delivery (Steijn 2004). According to Morton (2011), to effectively achieve performance management, there is a need for organisations to consider their processes as interconnected and that these should flow in congruence with each other to consistently meet objectives. Because performance management focuses on goal alignment, there is also a need to exhibit flexibility in establishing such goals and performing in accordance with these (de Waal and Counet 2009).
The study shall make use of an exclusively quantitative approach in addressing the research problem. According to Mangan, Lalwani, and Gardner (2004), quantitative research allows the researcher to conduct empirical investigations regarding quantitative phenomena and the relationships that may exist among them. Hence, quantitative research helps develop and apply theories, hypotheses, and models that are relevant to a certain phenomena (Henson, Hull, and Williams 2010). Quantitative research methods primarily include the use of statistics, tables, and graphs, expressing the variables’ relationships in a mathematical form. This research approach is an appropriate means of concluding the results as well as proving or disproving any given hypotheses. The structure for conducing quantitative studies has not undergone considerable change for many decades, hence allowing various fields and disciplines to follow similar standards (Bryman 2006). If well designed, quantitative studies can also prevent external factors from influencing results, thereby enabling the results to be more accurate and unbiased (Voils, Sandelowski, Barroso, and Hasselblad 2008).
A descriptive-correlational research design will be used which can allow the current study to conduct a survey among large numbers of individuals, questioning them about their ideas, attitudes and behaviors, specifically on performance management. This way, possible relationships may be identified and be utilized for further research. This design can allow the researcher to collect information from a large sample and evaluate a wider range of attitudes, behaviors, and opinions. To collect the target sample, purposive sampling shall be used to select the staff of the Council who shall be part of the sample proper. The inclusion criteria are as follows: 1) must be a staff of the Council; 2) have a minimum tenure of 1 year; and 3) must be willing to participate in the study. The target sample is 300 participants from the Council. Once responses have been gathered, all statistical analyses, mainly composed of descriptive statistics and the Pearson correlation coefficient, shall be carried out through the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.0.
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