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“Performance management system (PMS), is the process of identifying, measuring, managing, and developing the performance of the human resources in the organization.” A system that measures workers performances that we use to improve the individual performance (SHRM 2010 Curriculum Guidebook for the complete list). Beer and Ruh (1976) had coined the phrase performance management in 1976 and then later on recognized as a distinctive approach in mid 1980s. The main reasons for the development of this system was that, the managers realized that a more continuous and integrated approach was needed to manage and reward performance (SHRM 2010 Curriculum Guidebook for the complete list). In order to deal effectively with the pressures and changes in the current environment, the organizations are seeking for effective management techniques (De-Waal, 2007).
Aguinis, (2009) defines “Performance management is a constant process in which performance of identifying, measuring and developing the performance of individuals and aligning performance with the strategic goals of the organization”. Performance management and performance appraisal are confused every so often but the second is just a part of the former. Performance appraisal is for gauging employee performance (SHRM 2010 Curriculum Guidebook for the complete list).Performance appraisal basically means the assessment of employees, providing them with valuable feedback and producing a progressive effect on future performance (Bohlander & Snell, 2010).
Across the world in many countries, managerialism has been an important neo-liberal method supposed most suitable for the efficient and effective management of public sector organizations comprising schools (Simkins, 200; Tabulawa, 2003). Ingrained in the beginning of managerialism, governments have adopted performance management from the private sector to make workers such as teachers “more efficient, more effective and more accountable” (Down, Hogan, & Chadbourne, 1999, p. 11).
By and large PMS are a reform designed to ensure that organizations, units and individuals work effectively and efficiently” (Storey, 2002, p.321). Hopen (2004) elucidates PMS as a daily management system that confirms an organization accomplishes its vision, becomes a high performer, and creates success for all. Key features of this reform as further indicated by Hopen (2004) are that it should focus on allocating work, enabling work to be carried out as planned, and assessing performance.
When the PMS was adopted into the public sector from private sector, public schooling systems were included. Neo-liberal policies promoted the application of private sectors practices in the schools to make them more efficient and accountable for their performance (Dawn, Chadounne, & Hogan, 2000).The aim of PMS was to restructure and re-culture schooling along the line of corporate management with the intention to increase accountability and productivity of teachers’ work (Down, Chadbourne, & Hogan, 2000).
According to Ingram and McDonnell (1996) measuring the performance of employees is a compulsory task as it allows a firm to have a record of current organizational activity in order to judge their progress and help refocus strategy. Performance review provides a picture of past performance and enable to make plans for future.
Armstrong (1991) found that performance management enables individuals to approach and discuss their work with their managers and supervisors in a peaceful atmosphere. In effect, providing people with feedback about their performance will have a positive effect on their future performance (Taylor& pierce, 1999, Van Dyne et al., 2000).
Performance management has long been observed as one of the most critical areas of human resource development as well as human resource management (Cardy & Dobbins, 1994). The challenge is to be establishing an effective performance management system that eradicates the negative significances and generate the positive ones for individual and organization (Lawler, 1994, Nankervis, A. R., & Compton, R. L. 2006). This also helps to further development and improvement plans for employees (Armstrong, 2003).
There is a high failure rate of the PMS and most of them occurs during the implementation phase. According to McCunn (1998), as cited by Bourne et al. (2002), the failure rate of the PMS implementation was around 70 percentage. The failure rate has also decreased as the years have passed by. In a more recent literature the failure rate has said to decrease to 56 percent (de Waal & Counet, 2009). This is a good sign by still majority of the PMS are poorly implemented.
Typically, performance management strategies are to ‘manage’ the ‘performance’ of teachers by providing them with support for professional development and feedback from an assessment of their work (Chadbourne, November, 2000). Nevertheless, despite the official rhetoric of professional growth found in the policy, there is little evidence that performance management systems are of this kind are effective in enhancing teacher’s learning and their capacity to improve their classroom practice ( Her Majesty;s Chief Inspector of Schools, 1996; Ingvarson & Chadbourne, 997).
Practical studies of teacher appraisal and performance management show that the impact of appraisal on teaching and learning has not been extensive (Chadbourne, November, 2000). The literature on teacher appraisal shows that it can be very complex, involving a number of factors than can either impede or support teacher effectiveness (Malongwa, 1995:153; Bartlett, 2000:26; Campbell, Kyriakides, Muijs, & Robinson, 2003:356). Teacher appraisal is receiving attention worldwide as governments place more importance to examine educational provision critically to ensure that it is relevant and appropriate to the needs of the youth (Pedzani Monyatsi, Teacher perceptions of the effectiveness of teacher appraisal in Botswana, 2006). Therefore, teacher appraisal is of great importance since its main objective is to improve individual performance and motivation (Bartlett, 2000:25; Danielson, 2001:12; Donaldson & Stobbe, 2000; Lam, 2001:161; Painter, 2001:61; Wanzare, 2002:213 mine 4).
Considering the above one should, however, appreciate that quality education can only be accomplished by means of an appraisal system that is based on the improvement of individual performance, which in turn leads to improved working relationships and development of the individual’s career (Everard & Morris, 1996:79). Individual performance can be enhanced through the identification of one’s strengths and weaknesses which is a key purpose of appraisal. Goddard and Emerson (1995:11 mine 5) further argue that the basis of appraisal is the belief that educators wish to improve their performance in order to enhance the education of students.
It is important to treat appraisal as an ongoing co-operative intervention between the supervisor and subordinate, a shared responsibility and not a once-a-year “confrontation” (Howard & McColskey, 2001:49; Monyatsi, 2003:23). Teacher appraisal as described above is an intervention which aims to benefit both the individual and the school in pursuit of quality education. According to Poster and Poster (1992:2), “appraisal is one of a number of techniques for integrating the individual into the organization”.
The feedback provided during the appraisal process is important to inform all those involved in the organization about what ought to be done in order to map the way forward. This will improve the effectiveness of teaching and students’ learning and, ultimately, the quality of education (Abraham et al., 2001:1; Donaldson & Stobbe, 2000:31; Goddard & Emerson, 1996:11; Lam, 2001:2 mine 6).
Stronge (1991) in Mo, Comers and McComick (1998:23) highlights the importance of purpose by arguing that “if an appraisal system does not have a clear purpose, it will just be a meaningless exercise”. Mullins (1996:639) contends that appraisal is one way in which to review the performance and potential of staff. During the appraisal process data are collected by regular observations, not only to measure current performance, but also to support strengths, identify deficiencies, give feedback and the necessary information for changes in future performance (Bartlett, 2000:28; Monyatsi, 2003:23; Haynes, Wragg, Wragg & Chamberlin, 2003:75; Wanzare, 2002:214). The questions remains as whether such reforms which have proved suitable in developed countries can be applicable to less developed countries (Hughes, 2003).
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