Academic journal article International Education Studies

Constraints to Senior Management's Capacity to Implement the Performance Management System in Senior Secondary Schools in Botswana

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Constraints to Senior Management's Capacity to Implement the Performance Management System in Senior Secondary Schools in Botswana

Article excerpt


The performance management system in different forms has been in existence in many countries for some years. In 1999 Botswana like other countries decided to implement a performance management system (PMS) across the entire public service including schools. At its introduction, the government explained the purpose for which this reform was being implemented. Drawing on a grounded theory study about school management's perceptions of the implementation process in senior secondary schools in Botswana, school heads, deputy school heads and heads of houses in twenty-two of the twenty-seven schools were interviewed. The implementation process of the PMS in schools is primarily the responsibility of these management team members. This paper, part of a bigger study conducted to investigate perceptions about the implementation of the performance management system in senior secondary schools in Botswana, explores factors that may have caused senior management to be dissatisfied with their capacity to implement the PMS.

Keywords: performance management system, senior management team, resources, time management, regional office

1. Background

Many countries have had a wide range of reforms focusing on the performance of schools (Gleeson & Husbands, 2001). One such reform is the performance management system which has been implemented as a management reform to address and redress concerns, organisations have about performance (Sharif, 2002). Over the years the government of Botswana also introduced some reforms into the entire government including the education sector. One such reform was the performance management system which came into effect in 1999.

The government wanted a performance management system that would ensure effective and efficient public service delivery at a minimal cost thus reducing the burden on taxpayers (Republic of Botswana, 2002). One of the main purposes of this reform was to improve performance in the public service (Republic of Botswana, 2002; Hacker & Washington, 2004). This is similar in most respects to performance management systems globally. For Brignall and Modell (2000) this is achievable only if the public services adopt management techniques from the private sector. Hughes (2003) reveals that governments, like the private sector, have insisted on the development of performance indicators that would systematically measure the performance of staff over a given period of time than it had ever been done before. However, Anderson's (2008) research shows that there "is minimal support to the expectation that performance management systems improve performance" (p. 552). In other words evidence provided by Anderson (2008) indicates that performance management reforms contribute "small and not (highly) significant improvements of quality... " (p. 554).

In Botswana, whereas the government expressed positive expectation about the PMS, an evaluation of the implementation of the PMS conducted in 2005 by a team of independent consultants from the Institute of Development Management (IDM Consortium) revealed that implementation had some challenges. This evaluation which was carried out amongst a cross section of managers in the different public sector organisations reported limitations about the PMS. One of the weaknesses was in the tools for monitoring, namely the performance agreements (PAs) and the performance development plans (PDPs) which were used for all other public employees. The findings showed that the implementation of both the PDPs and PAs proved a difficult task because of the complexity of documentation, and difficulty in matching these documents to the contexts in which managers and their staff were working. Other problems included the problem of reporting frequency, and the paucity of measuring tools. Further revealed in the evaluation report was that the PMS was time consuming, with a lot of time and resources spent at workshops and/or meetings discussing PMS (Republic of Botswana, 2006). …

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