This study analyzes the performance measurement and evaluation literature in (non- profit) arts management by conducting a meta-synthesis, which is both a process and a product of explorative scientific enquiry. Meta-syntheses go beyond the well-known procedure of literature reviews, often used to summarize the current state of knowledge in a particular field, in that they produce formal integrations that offer novel understandings of the reviewed literature. This article presents, in the results section, the consolidated understandings under four thought-provoking titles: First, ‘Third time’s a charm?’ describes the development phases identified in the body of performance measurement and evaluation literature. Second, ‘A paradigm on the move?’ refers to the dominance of the positivist research tradition and signals the quest for alternative approaches. Third, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ illustrates that the international literature tends to emphasize the benefits and learnings of performance measurement and evaluation practices (pride) while a rather prejudicial attitude is observed among the German-written literature. Fourth, ‘Good Cop, Bad Cop’ takes the debate to a higher level by thematizing the interplay between arts management research and cultural policy. The conclusion discusses the four titles through the lens of system theoretical discourse.