Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Understanding Challenges of Performance Measurement in a Public University: Evidence from Sudan

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Understanding Challenges of Performance Measurement in a Public University: Evidence from Sudan

Article excerpt


This paper aims to understand the challenges of performance measurement implementation in higher education sector in Sudan. A qualitative case study approach is used in this study in which 23 semi-structured interviews with both internal and external administrators and directors were conducted. Documentary materials and observations are also employed to support the data generated from the interviews. The case findings reveal that several performance measurement practices in the University are adopted in a ceremonial way, which are driven by external pressure. An absence of clear strategies and plans to translate its mission and vision into workable programmes, the resistance to changes in an already established system of administration, insufficient governmental funding, and the lack of competent personnel in the field of quality and self-evaluation are the major challenges of performance measurement in the case University. Hence, the management of the University should work more closely with the concerned governmental authorities to control and overcome these challenges for successful implementation of performance measurement systems.

Keywords: performance measurement, challenges, public universities, developing countries, Sudan

1. Introduction

The last two decades witnessed an increasing pressure on public sector organisations to become more efficient and effective, which necessitated a great improvement in their costing and management systems, so as to provide quality and timely information (Waweru et al., 2007). Hence, the public sector was reformed and developed in order to achieve efficiency, effectiveness, and quality in public service delivery. Governments all over the world have shifted from the traditional bureaucratic management of public service and implemented the principles of the new management such as 'decentralization, flexibility, quality service, customer responsiveness and efficiency' (Sotirakou & Zeppou, 2006). The literature highlights the significance of performance measurement (PM) as one of the ways by which organisations can ensure quality to their stakeholders (Karuhanga, 2010).

The use of performance measurement systems (PMS) in organisations in the developing countries is steadily increasing especially in Africa (De Waal, 2007; Karuhanga, 2010 ). De Waal (2007) cited a number of studies, which showed that there is an increasing interest in performance measurement and management in several countries in Africa, such as Burkina Faso, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Ghana. However, no study has been conducted to investigate PMS practices and the challenges of PMS in public universities in Sudan (De Waal, 2007). The slow speed of using performance measurement in higher education institutions is a critical issue that is worthy of more study (Bogt & Sacpens, 2009, 2011; Wang, 2010). Thus, this study is motivated to investigate this issue in the higher educational sector in Sudan, given that higher education sector in Sudan is facing a large number of administrative and financial issues and challenges; especially, after what so called "Higher Education Revolution" in 1990s. These issues; amongst other things, include: an increasing number of universities and other higher educational institutions, an increasing number of students enrolled in these institutions; coupled with fewer numbers of academic staff working in these institutions. Furthermore, there is insufficient governmental funding granted to these universities. However, the slowness in change management in already established and inherited systems, as well as the lack of proper governmental funding; were the main administrative and financial challenges that clearly linked with the public university investigated in this study.

2. Literature Review

2.1 Performance Measurement Systems - Conceptualization

The terms "performance measurement" and "performance management" complement each other, but are often confused both in practice and in the literature (Samples & Austin, 2009). …

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