The major problem with evaluating agency performance based on outputs rather than outcomes is that attaching importance to these measures may lead to goal displacement as agencies focus on generating numbers that please political officials, rather than devoting their energies to achieving more meaningful policy outcomes.
A commonly used example of goal displacement involves the classification of crimes by law enforcement agencies.
The above example suggests how incentive structures can generate goal displacement in public agencies.
Goal Displacement and Organizational eating in Public Schools
Although the classic cases of goal displacement
by public authorities probably involve a failure to adapt to new circumstances, there is some evidence that the hospital service area is one where the second type of goal displacement
dynamic may be occurring.
Accuracy, notice, due process, and efficiency may be compromised by problems such as interorganizational coordination, organizational complexity, strategic behavior by clients, welfare fraud, or goal displacement.
Client-based verification also causes a subtle change in the function of financial sanctions, resulting in goal displacement.
The staff were more likely to perceive goal displacement when the verification system was exclusively client-based.