n South African Journal of Higher Education - Performance management in higher education - bridging the gap : perspectives on higher education

Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Higher education worldwide has been undergoing transformation. Pressure is sometimes applied on universities to become more "businesslike" in their way of doing things. Within the changing paradigm of what constitutes a university, the position and role of the academic staff have also come under pressure. This paradigm shift has impacted on higher education institutions in that there is an increased emphasis on productivity, quality and accountability with regard to the key functions of a university. One of the consequences of increased "managerialism" and "corporatisation" in higher education institutions is an attempt to develop performance management / appraisal systems. In this article a critical overview is provided of performance appraisal at one higher education institution. The role of a performance management system is outlined within a holistic view of the role and functions of the institution. A theoretical framework for an individualised performance appraisal system is described and discussed critically. This is linked to an argument for a triangular approach to performance management using profiling, contracting and the use of portfolios as possible ways of individualising appraisal. A critical review of this triangular approach is provided and contextualised, using a case study of a specific faculty at one higher education institution.

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