More agency autonomy translates into more empowered in-country personnel. The fewer individuals on the ground that are required to defend their decisions to distant supervisors, the more creative and less conservative they will be — taking smart risks, rather than acting to ensure that they never make a mistake.
I wonder if the conclusions are perhaps making a logical leap and conflating management by numbers and management by activities?
It strikes me that it’s likely not the concept of holding people/projects/investments to goals that is the problem, instead, the research seems to show:
1) The goals must be the right goals, and they often aren’t.
2) The accountability mechanisms should be at the outcome and learning levels, rather than the activity/workplan level.
Thanks to @amirallana for this.