In a hybrid context, a performance measurement exercise incorporates four elements:
- A person or organisation conducting the quantification process (measurer)
- The object of measurement (measuree)
- The rules of evaluation and calculation, according to which performance is conceptualised and quantified (measurement system)
- The results of measurements to be used for the decision-making of public policies, organisations, and relevant stakeholders (measurement results)
Measuring performance in the context of hybrid organizations involves several ambiguities.
- Ambiguities in focusing attention to relevant areas of performance measurement in hybrid contexts. This is associated with the complexity of attention allocation and the complexity of determining what is relevant. The process of determining relevant areas of performance measurement among hybrids involves several conflicting interests, which is why there is hardly any common interpretation of relevance.
- Ambiguities in understanding the cause-effect relationships of complex policy interventions and collaborative governance. This is especially important for most hybrid settings where the valuation of activities cannot always be conducted through market prices, or where final outcomes are determined not by individual public agencies or business firms alone, but by their collaborative interaction. Causal mechanisms between inputs, outputs, and outcomes are complex cases for modelling in hybrid forms of governance.
- Constraints in the recording and data systems of hybrid activities. This is important for the verification of performance. As Griliches (1994) has maintained, there are prominent misrepresentations of data in many areas of economy and society, in particular in service sectors. A widely used argument by Griliches is that, as an example, a good portion of the measured productivity growth may be, in fact, an indication of changes in the quality of outputs and measurement errors rather than ‘real’ productivity growth. In hybrid activities, this is an even bigger dilemma due to the fact that the systems of financial performance, or national accounting, do not systematically cover hybrid activities. In many measurement systems, they may be nonexistent.
•Ambiguities in communicating for and about the performance of hybrids. There are multiple audiences for the performance information of hybrid activities. These may include, for example, the management of hybrid organisations, the shareholders of a company operating in outsourced public activities, media using the performance reporting of hybridised social and health care systems, or citizens willing to express their voice concerning the caveats of service delivery. With such multiple audiences, there needs to be variation in the messages given and the ways in which performances are justified and reasoned among hybrid activities.