This paper aims to analyse the level of implementation of performance management and performance evaluation in a category of public administration with particular features, which, up to now, have been little studied in Italy: Chambers of Commerce. In particular, this paper aims to review the current state of Sicilian and Calabrian Chambers of Commerce, with regard to capacity to follow up on institutional objectives – essentially supporting the local entrepreneurial system – by the introduction of management behavioural models and performance management tools. The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is the model chosen for analysing the Chambers. Although being widely used in the EU, this tool has received limited attention in studies. Compared to other tools, CAF is based on a Total Quality Management approach, which makes it a better choice for this study. It is a self-assessment/diagnosis tool available to public organizations which are intent on improving performance. Through the identification of a series of inter-related indicators and variables, a complete, easily analysable picture of any organization under observation can be obtained. Data analysed were acquired through structured interviews, questionnaires, scrutiny of web sites, examination of documentation issued by each Chamber (financial statements, provisional reports, or other). Through a desk analysis of collected data and a comparative reading of the outcomes, specific dynamics were identified, and some correlation between economic and institutional pre-conditions and variables were found.
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