Linking citizens ratings to services quality improvements: An empirical analysis and some potential solutions

The New Public Management paradigm strongly relies on a commitment to performance measurement along with citizen orientation. In this perspective, both objective quality assessments and citizens perceived (subjective) quality ratings should become inputs for decision-making. Anyway according to available literature, it is still not clear if and how citizen evaluations can be effectively translated into managerial decisions leading to services quality improvements.

The aim of this paper is to contribute to close this theoretical and practical gap. A mail survey was conducted among a sample of Italian town mayors in spring 2008 in order to investigate this issue from the local government point of view and to test the viability of some potential solutions. 44 questionnaires were returned, showing unexpected results as compared to available literature. Data, for example, highlights that the link between citizens ratings and services quality improvements could become real by enacting a transfer of part of the central governments financial resources on the basis of annual citizens satisfaction ratings. Results will be discussed and managerial implications will be derived.

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