Performance Management Regimes in Practice: Examining the Local Agencies Implementing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Jodi R Sandfort, Sook Jin Ong, Catherine McKay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Performance management regimes significantly influence public management practice and policy implementation. Yet, within public administration scholarship, there is insufficient attention to how regimes are reified through policy implementation or how they influence management decisions and outcomes. In this analysis, we considered the robustness of policy regime theory to deepen our understanding of performance management. We examine an empirical setting where two competing performance regimes seek to shape local program delivery in social welfare. We use this case to expand regime theory by highlighting the significant role of local managers in interpreting conflicting regime signals. Their interpretation directly shapes operational practices. The analysis highlights that further theorizing about policy regimes should consider various levels within implementation system, particularly the significance of managerial authority.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-158
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019



  • TANF
  • intergovernmental relations
  • performance management
  • policy field
  • policy implementation
  • regime theory
  • welfare

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