Exploring the effect of strategic change on the research incentive reward system.
Jacob, Asseervadhum Patricia.
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Effective change requires that we understand the way the current situation works and that we are clear about how we want the new one to be different. The University of Natal has maintained a position in the middle rank of comparative national research output statistics, with an upward trend evident in the mid 1990s and a downward trend that began in 1998 and continued to 2000. It was already accepted in 1999 that the downward trend had to be reversed in order for the University to remain competitive and continue to attract competent researchers and academics, and ways of doing this were explored by the University's Research Office. It became evident that any strategic changes envisaged by the University had to encompass a revised incentive system if the productivity of the researchers was to be positively affected. The first changes, which consisted of a complete revision of the original incentive system, were implemented in 1999. The University continued to monitor output and looked at additional ways of encouraging research. The research focused on strategic change and a theoretical model was recommended highlighting elements or levers for successful change and how they are dependent on each other. Reward strategies, the change agenda and incentives were examined. The case study was undertaken in order to understand the strategic changes initiated at the University and the study outlined the various incentives awarded to researchers to increase productivity. Information, essentially of a descriptive nature, was gathered from members of the University's Faculty Research Committee by means of a questionnaire. This research affirmed that researchers are motivated by incentive awards, that they believe that the new incentive for productivity award will increase productivity and that it is seen as beneficial to the researcher. They confirmed that they preferred the new arrangement as it was seen as more rewarding than the old incentive system.