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Performance Management in Universities: Effects of the Transition to More Quantitative Measurement Systems


  • Henk J. ter Bogt
  • Robert W. Scapens


The measurement of research and teaching performance is increasingly common within universities, driven probably by the rise of New Public Management (NPM). Although changing over time and varying from country to country, NPM involves the use of private sector methods in the public sector. Traditionally, performance measurement in universities has had a developmental role -- helping individuals to improve their (future) performance. However, the new systems seem more judgemental -- i.e. seeking to quantitatively evaluate (past) performance. We study performance measurement in two Accounting and Finance groups -- one in the Netherlands and one in the UK. In both we see an increasing use of judgemental forms of performance evaluation and, in particular, the use of more quantitative performance measures. The use of these more judgemental quantitative systems is seen to have various effects. Although these systems emphasise objective quantitative measures, they relocate subjectivities (usually at a greater distance from the subject), rather than remove them. This creates uncertainty and anxiety about how the systems are used. There is a danger that the new systems could inhibit creativity in teaching and limit contributions to the world outside the university. Furthermore, they could damage creativity and innovation in accounting research -- as researchers play safe in getting the publications they need. As we are both researchers and practitioners in this area, we should be challenging these trends and pointing to the dangers for research (and teaching) in our field.

Suggested Citation

  • Henk J. ter Bogt & Robert W. Scapens, 2012. "Performance Management in Universities: Effects of the Transition to More Quantitative Measurement Systems," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(3), pages 451-497, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:21:y:2012:i:3:p:451-497 DOI: 10.1080/09638180.2012.668323

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Guillaume Plantin & Haresh Sapra & Hyun Song Shin, 2008. "Marking-to-Market: Panacea or Pandora's Box?," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 435-460, May.
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    5. Barth, Mary E. & Beaver, William H. & Landsman, Wayne R., 2001. "The relevance of the value relevance literature for financial accounting standard setting: another view," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-3), pages 77-104, September.
    6. Christian Laux & Christian Leuz, 2010. "Did Fair-Value Accounting Contribute to the Financial Crisis?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 93-118, Winter.
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    8. Beatty, Anne & Chamberlain, Sandra & Magliolo, Joseph, 1996. "An empirical analysis of the economic implications of fair value accounting for investment securities," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-3), pages 43-77, October.
    9. Barth, Mary E. & Landsman, Wayne R. & Wahlen, James M., 1995. "Fair value accounting: Effects on banks' earnings volatility, regulatory capital, and value of contractual cash flows," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 577-605, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dixon, Keith, 2013. "Growth and dispersion of accounting research about New Zealand before and during a National Research Assessment Exercise: Five decades of academic journals bibliometrics," MPRA Paper 51100, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. repec:eee:spacre:v:19:y:2016:i:1:p:45-54 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Marie Boitier & Stéphanie Chatelain-Ponroy & Anne Riviere & Stéphanie Mignot-Gérard & Christine Musselin & Samuel Sponem, 2015. "Le Nouveau Management Public dans les universités françaises, un puzzle doctrinal encore mal articulé en pratiques ?," Post-Print hal-01188862, HAL.
    4. Palea, Vera, 2015. "Journal Rankings and the Sustainability of Diversity in Accounting Research," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201546, University of Turin.

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