An investigation into academic staff perceptions of workload and performance management models in higher education

UoM administered thesis: Doctor of Education

  • Authors:
  • Andrew Graham

Abstract

The focus of the research reported in this thesis is on the illumination of the perceptions of workload and performance management systems held by academic teaching staff in post-92 higher education (referring to the ex-polytechnics and colleges of higher education that became universities following the Further and Higher Education Act 1992). Workload means the contractual number of hours that are allocated to academic staff for work on teaching, research and administrative duties and performance management refers to those processes that are used to set and review individual objectives to be achieved in a given academic year. Universities continue to undergo major changes to purposes and practices regarding the design of and relationships between such systems, where forms of New Public Management (NPM) have been adopted in order to secure efficient and effective workloads and role performance. The aim of the research reported in this thesis was to illuminate the perceptions of workload and performance management models held by academic teaching staff who are subject to a 550 hours per annum teaching load regulated through workload and performance management processes. This was achieved by undertaking a factor analysis of Q sorts conducted with 52 academic staff. The site for this project is the post-92 University of Eagleton (anonymised) located in the North of England. The study is structured using three research questions; ‘What are the perceptions of academic staff of the models of workload and performance management in operation within the University of Eagleton?’, ‘What is the relationship, identified by academic staff, between workload and performance management of staff?’ and ‘What recommendations can be made about the future development and deployment of workload and performance management models?’. These questions are important because they address the gaps in knowledge about the operation of workload and performance management processes, linkages between these models and the effects they have on academic staff. A conceptual contribution is made through the development of a New Public Management (NPM) Framework to give a macro environment in which to locate this project. This framework was subsequently deployed in the analysis of the factors to establish the effect that NPM had on the implementation of the workload and performance management models. Recommendations are made for managers, based on the key findings from the factor analysis, as to how to refine the implementation of the workload and performance management models in order to achieve a more productive engagement of these models by the academic teaching staff. Recommendations are made for researchers, based on the need to develop longitudinal studies at post-92 universities and to develop this type of research within pre-1992 universities.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date31 Dec 2017