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The weakening of public accountability in the public sector, observed after the New Public Management reforms in the late 1980s, raises concern about the merit and effectiveness of local government reforms in the early twenty-first century. The present paper gives a contextual account of experience in replacing output-based performance measures with outcome-oriented performance measures in a New Zealand local council. A major purpose is to improve understandings of how institutional pressures affect actors in the public sector.
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