Public Service Users’ Responses to Performance Feedback

Peter Rasmussen Damgaard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: ThesisPh.D. thesis

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Today, unprecedented amounts of performance feedback are produced and disclosedabout public services in efforts to promote choice, competition, and accountability.Public service users are expected to play an instrumental role in these efforts sinceperformance feedback can inform consequential behaviours like exit and voice. However, despite decades of research on effects of performance feedback among citizensin general, less is known about how performance feedback affects actual public service users. This is an unfortunate omission since the service users may differ in theirresponses to performance feedback due to their prior knowledge, their personal interests in service outcomes.

To advance our understanding of performance disclosure, this dissertation examines how performance feedback affects service users' belief formation, evaluations ofservice performance and behavioural intentions. First, the dissertation studies the extent to which public service users’ belief formation is hampered by self-serving biasfrom attachment to their provider. Next, the effects of feedback are studied on canonical downstream outcomes like satisfaction and intentions to voice and exit. Finally,the dissertation examines the effects of performance feedback on service users' willingness to coproduce, which is a type of response that has been largely overlooked byexisting research.

The results of the dissertation indicate that service users are able to form correctbeliefs from performance feedback and are unhampered by self-serving biases. However, the dissertation also finds that performance feedback only generates small or noeffects on downstream evaluations of service and intentions to exit and voice. Instead,the results indicate, that service users' willingness to coproduce changes in responseto performance feedback. These results have implications for both equity and accountability in response to performance disclosure, and they indicate that unintended butstrategic responses may be a bigger cause for concern than biased information processing.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Southern Denmark
  • Thomsen, Mette Kjærgaard, Principal supervisor
  • Opstrup, Niels, Co-supervisor
Date of defence14. Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 19. Jun 2023

Note re. dissertation

Print copy of the full thesis is restricted to reference use in the Library.


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