oa Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology - "Not worth the sweat" : performance management rewards at a South African university

Volume 15, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1445-7377



The advent in universities of managerialism with its drive for individual accountability through performance management systems (PMSs) is contentious. With the implementation of a PMS at a South African university, academic heads of department (HoDs) have been key players in the performance reward component of the PMS. This study, following a qualitative descriptive research design based on in-depth interviews, explores a sample of HoDs' experiences and perceptions of the institution's performance reward system. Most of the participants are sceptical of the PMS as they view it as a business-oriented practice that is not compatible with the nature and objectives of higher education institutions (HEIs). They consider the reward strategy not only to have a limited effect in promoting high performance behaviour, but to be a cause of discontent due to implementation inconsistencies, nebulous award criteria, lack of transparency about ratings, and the negligible monetary value of the reward.

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