More on Organizational Versus Individual Performance Measurement

Last week’s blog probed the interplay between organizational (court-wide) and individual performance measurement. Specifically, it reached the conclusion that because (a) court performance measurement and individual performance assessment differ in purpose, methodology, interpretation and use, and because (b) there is today insufficient knowledge and experience about how to link the two, a court performance measurement system (CPMS) should, therefore, not include the capability to “drill down” to the individual judge or employee performance.

A California judge and an Arizona court administrator who responded astutely pointed out that linking organizational and individual performance is inevitable for various reasons – people are interested in it, and line of sight metrics and measurement hierarchies require it, for example -- even if it does cause some animosity and contention. We agreed that it if it is to be done, it needs to be done right, however. They suggested a promising approach and a conceptual framework for doing so: systematically comparing organizational court performance measures -- like the CourTools or other performance measures adopted by a court or state court system -- with the individual performance criteria in state judicial performance review (JPR) or judicial performance evaluation (JPE) procedures, codes of judicial conduct, and other authorities.

A simple tabular comparison of court performance measures and individual performance criteria set forth by various authorities might reveal areas of “official” overlap that could become the focus of discussion and the development of linkages. For example, Canon 3b (8) of Arizona’s Code of Judicial Conduct focuses on a judge’s administrative responsibilities within the judicial process and requires that “[a] judge shall dispose of all judicial matters promptly, efficiently and fairly,” a requirement that matches the four measures of the CourTools that focus on case processing. Rule 91 (e), Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona, goes further by requiring that judges rule on matters 60 days after submission – sixty day rule -- and Arizona statutes establish financial consequences for violating this rule. Arguably, at least for judges, this overlap of criteria for individual judicial and court performance identifies a legitimate place to start thinking about linking organizational and individual performance measurement. (But should this link be made for all judges and judicial officers?) Further, where no overlap exists, no formal linking of individual and organizational performance should be attempted.

While I still have misgivings about linking individual and organizational performance in CPMSs, this conceptual framework is a good beginning. A systematic comparison of court performance measures with the performance criteria set forth in such authorities as canons of judicial conduct and judicial performance review seems worth exploring as a way to get started.

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