Academic staff perceptions of performance management : a qualitative study.
Mazibuko, Lindani Thando.
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Performance management as a tool of managing human recourses has flourished into the higher education sector, with more and more universities employing it to manage the performance of academics (Simmons, 2002). This research is a qualitative exploration of the individual and personal lecturer or university academic’s experiences and perceptions of performance management. The research study conducted seven semi-structured, thirty to forty-minute-long interviews with seven university academics to ascertain their individual, personal, subjective perceptions, opinions and experiences of performance management within higher education institutions. Participants recognised the importance and positives of performance management, but also expressed frustration with the conception, implementation and execution of performance management. Performance management is viewed by academics as being detached from the realities of a university context, due largely to the pro-profit and bureaucratic approach employed in the entirety of the process. Participants desired an inclusive, qualitative, less bureaucratic approach to the conceptualisation of what constitutes ‘good performance’. This approach must also honour the changing environment and context of contemporary universities that is driven less by neoliberal norms.