Performance Management in Higher Education - Development versus Control

By Morris, L.; Stanton, P. et al. | New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations (Online), July 1, 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Performance Management in Higher Education - Development versus Control


Morris, L., Stanton, P., Young, S., New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations (Online)


Abstract

Since the late 1980s higher education in Australia has been the focus of major restructure and reform in a search for greater efficiency, effectiveness and accountability. A key component has been performance management of academic staff with performance appraisals being the main process used. This paper examines enterprise bargaining agreements of universities to explore the status of performance management. It asks a number of questions such as: What do performance management systems look like? Are they linked to strategic goals? What feedback mechanisms are used? Do they have a developmental or monitoring/ control focus? It concludes that universities express a strategic link to performance management with the result that individual academic performance is increasingly being linked to organisational goals. However the use of performance management as a developmental or monitoring/control tool is less clear. This is apparent as performance appraisals are being used to reward staff in areas that were traditionally considered as standard working rights and conditions.

Introduction

Since the late 1980s higher education in Australia has been the focus of major restructure and reform in a search for greater efficiency, effectiveness and accountability. Policies have been introduced designed to increase efficiency and reduce costs through amalgamations, downsizing and changes in delivery and accountability. A key component of higher education reform both in Australia and overseas has been the search for improved quality assurance and management and within that context a focus on academic accountability. Universities in Australia introduced the concept of measuring academic performance in 1988 and formally introduced performance appraisal for developmental purposes in 1991 (Lonsdale 1998). Since that time a number of reviews and audits have highlighted the central role of performance management of staff in achieving good quality outcomes.

From the late 1980s, the neo-liberal agenda has been the driver of managerialism and New Public Management policies which successive governments have adopted and used internationally and in Australia to alter funding, structures and work practices across the whole public sector (Young 2004). Running parallel with these policy and management changes in higher education were changes in the industrial relations arena which have encouraged an emphasis on efficiency and productivity through decentralisation and bargaining at the enterprise level. More recently industrial relations has become a vehicle of change in the higher education sector (Barnes 2006) as government industrial relations policy has included a greater focus on the individual and individual agreement making (O'Brien Valadkhani, Waring and Dennis 2007).

These parallel changes in the Australian university environment have major implications for the work of academics yet it is surprising that since the early 1990s there is a paucity of research on the performance management (PM) of academics within universities. This article explores the status of performance management by examining the current Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBAs) of 37 Australian universities. First, the article examines the literature incorporating performance management and its use in Australian universities. Second, using the literature and recommendations from the Hoare Report (1995) as an analytical framework, the article analyses the key components of the EBAs. And finally conclusions are drawn incorporating further areas for research.

Background

Performance appraisal (PA), once associated with a basic process involving an annual report on a subordinate's position has now become a general term for a range of activities that organisations now undertake to assess employees, develop their competence and distribute rewards (Fletcher 2001). In many cases performance appraisal has evolved to become part of a wider approach to integrating human resource management strategies, known as performance management (Fletcher 2001).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Performance Management in Higher Education - Development versus Control
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?