Controlling the performance of employed physicians, university professors, or tenured judges is a difficult managerial problem, because these professionals perform complex tasks that are hard to measure and because many of the economic incentives common to private-sector employees do not apply in the public sector. As yet, our knowledge of performance management for professionals is only limited. Therefore, this paper analyses incentives for professional judges in one German and one U.S. organisation. The comparative case study exploits qualitative information drawn from interviews along with quantitative performance and personnel data. Management in both organisations seeks to secure good performance in ways compatible with the concept of the professional bureaucracy: Administrative tasks are delegated to peers, internal recruitment prevails, and a quantitative benchmarking is maintained in order to appeal to judges' professional ethics. In the German career judiciary, promotion prospects can be expected to influence performance. This is confirmed empirically by estimating behavioural production functions.
courts internal labour markets professionals behavioural production functions career concerns