Performance evaluation in the arts: From the margins of accounting to the core of accountability

Francesco Chiaravalloti

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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Due to the policies introduced by many European governments since the rise of New Public Management in the 1990s, performance measurement has become the dominant means of government control of publicly funded organizations. As a result, publicly funded organizations have been increasingly asked to account to external stakeholders based on quantitative performance measures. Inspired by the economic logic of the business sector, such supposedly objective performance measures have been uncritically applied to all public sector organizations, including those whose value and quality are hardly quantifiable, such as arts organizations.
Based on a thorough study of relevant literatures and an in-depth case study of a publicly funded opera company, ‘Performance Evaluation in The Arts’ shows that the rules and procedures of accountability imposed by governments are unable to grasp the core value that arts organizations produce for their stakeholders; i.e., their artistic value. Artistic value is co-determined by all those involved in the processes of artistic creation and distribution - staff, audience, press and peers – and is evaluated by the artistic, administrative and technical managers of arts organizations through information that is largely unwritten, mainly qualitative, and often tacit.
Before implementing new accountability rules and procedures, governments should seek to understand the nature of the work processes and their evaluation within arts organizations. Only rules and procedures of accountability which mirror the reality of artistic work and, thereby, provide arts organizations with an artistic language to account for their contribution to society, are likely to be relevant to such organizations and their stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Kooistra, Jeltje, Supervisor
  • Scapens, Robert, Supervisor
  • Vuyk, C.M. (Kees), Co-supervisor, External person
Award date18-Apr-2016
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-90-367-8720-8
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-8719-2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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