Goal Ambiguity in Public Organizations: A Systematic Literature Review

  •  Antonio Botti    
  •  Antonella Monda    


In the literature on the public-private organizations is well known that public organizations have more ambiguous elements than private ones, such as ideology and objectives, that negatively influence the enthusiasm (Brunsson, 1986), motivation and performance of public employees (Pandey & Raney, 2006), as well as organizational performance (Chun & Raney, 2005). The close relationship with performance led many public administration scholars to deepen the concept of goal ambiguity in public management. However, given the lack of a univocal conceptualization of the phenomenon, the present work aims to contextualize goal ambiguity in the public administration, carrying out a systematic literature review. The results bring out goal ambiguity methods of measurement, its antecedents and consequences and the relationship between goal ambiguity and performance. From a theoretical point of view, the study allows systematizing the contributions on goal ambiguity, while from a practical point of view, a thorough knowledge of the concept allows public managers and policy-makers to obtain valuable information for the achievement of good organizational performance.

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