Resource Library

tyranny of metrics
View the Article

ARTICLE | The Tyranny of Metrics: A Review by Mark Cabaj

Evaluating Community Impact, Tools, Evaluation

This article features Mark Cabaj reviewing expert Jerry Z Muller's book "The Tyranny of Metrics" which concerns the practice of reducing things like individual and organizational performance to standardized metrics. 

While Muller is not staunchly anti-metric, and sees the benefit of pulling quantitative data in support of performance, he takes on three main beliefs

  • Outcomes and performance can be reduced to standardized measurements even in complex challenges
  • Making metrics public or transparent increases the chances that institutions will be accountable for their actions and results.
  • The best way to motivate people is by attaching financial and reputational reward and penalties to their ability to meet quantifiable performance targets.

Mark's article is a great introduction to Muller's thinking, and provides a practical basis for ensuring that our metrics are a helpful tool, rather than a hindrance, towards our goal of making the world a better place.

Tamarack Institute

By Tamarack Institute

The Tamarack Institute is a connected force for community change. We work with leaders in non-profits, governments, businesses and the community to make work of advancing positive community change easier and more effective. We do this by teaching and writing about collective impact, community engagement, collaborative leadership, community development, and evaluating community impact. We host two learning communities Cities Reducing Poverty and Cities Deepening Community turning theory into action.

Related Posts