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Herding cats? Management and university performance

  • John McCormack
  • Carol Propper
  • Sarah Smith


Using a tried and tested measure of management practices which has been shown to predict firm performance, we survey nearly 250 departments across 100+ UK universities. We find large differences in management scores across universities and that departments in older, research-intensive universities score higher than departments in newer, more teaching-oriented universities. We also find that management matters in universities. The scores, particularly with respect to provision of incentives for staff recruitment, retention and promotion, are correlated with both teaching and research performance conditional on resources and past performance. Moreover, this relationship holds for all universities, not just research-intensive ones.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 13/308.

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Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:13/308
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  1. Bloom, Nicholas & Propper, Carol & Seiler, Stephan & Van Reenen, John, 2010. "The Impact of Competition on Management Quality: Evidence from Public Hospitals," CEPR Discussion Papers 7862, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1652-1678, December.
  3. Acemoglu, Daron & Aghion, Philippe & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2002. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3467, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2003. "Competition and incentives with motivated agents," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2202, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Bloom, Nicholas & Van Reenen, John, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 5581, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Marianne Bertrand & Antoinette Schoar, 2003. "Managing With Style: The Effect Of Managers On Firm Policies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1169-1208, November.
  7. Casu, B. & Thanassoulis, E., 2006. "Evaluating cost efficiency in central administrative services in UK universities," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 417-426, October.
  8. Goodall, Amanda H., 2009. "Highly cited leaders and the performance of research universities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1079-1092, September.
  9. Amanda Goodall, 2005. "Should Research Universities be led by top researchers? Part 1: Are they?," CEE Discussion Papers 0051, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  10. Lisa M Lynch & Sandra E Black, 2002. "How to Compete: The Impact of Workplace Practices and Information Technology on Productivity," Working Papers 02-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  11. E Bayraktar & E Tatoglu & S Zaim, 2013. "Measuring the relative efficiency of quality management practices in Turkish public and private universities," Journal of the Operational Research Society, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 64(12), pages 1810-1830, December.
  12. Lu, Wen-Min, 2012. "Intellectual capital and university performance in Taiwan," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 1081-1089.
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