The drivers of perception: Identifying the driving factors of resident perceptions of municipal service quality in cities of South Florida

Augusto L. Newell, Florida International University

Abstract

The idea of comparative performance assessment is crucial. Recent study findings show that in South Florida the use by most municipalities of external benchmarks for performance comparison is virtually non-existent. On one level this study sought to identify the factors impacting resident perceptions of municipal service quality. On a different and more practical level, this study sought to identify a core set of measures that could serve for multi jurisdictional comparisons of performance. ^ This study empirically tested three groups of hypotheses. Data were collected via custom designed survey instruments from multiple jurisdictions, representing diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, and across two counties. A second layer of analysis was conducted on municipal budget documents for the presence of performance measures. A third layer of analysis was conducted via face-to-face interviews with residents at the point of service delivery. Research questions were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistic methodologies. ^ Results of survey data yielded inconsistent findings. In absolute aggregated terms, the use of sociological determinants to guide inquiry failed to yield conclusive answers regarding the factors impacting resident perceptions of municipal service quality. At disaggregated community levels, however, definite differences emerged but these had weak predictive ability. More useful were the findings of performance measures reporting via municipal budget documents and analyses of interviews with residents at the point of service delivery. Regardless of socio-economic profile, neighborhood characteristics, level of civic engagement or type of community, the same aspects were important to citizens when making assessments of service quality. For parks and recreation, respondents most frequently cited maintenance, facility amenities, and program offerings as important while for garbage collection services timely and consistent service delivery mattered most. Surprisingly municipalities participating in the study track performance data on items indicated as important by citizen assessments but regular feed back from residents or reporting to the same is rarely done. ^ The implications of these findings suggest that endeavors, such as the one undertaken in this study, can assist in determining a core set of measures for cross jurisdictional comparisons of municipal service quality, improving municipal delivery of services, and to communicate with the public. ^

Subject Area

Political Science, Public Administration

Recommended Citation

Newell, Augusto L., "The drivers of perception: Identifying the driving factors of resident perceptions of municipal service quality in cities of South Florida" (2005). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3206030.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI3206030

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