Performance Management: Theory and Practice

Launched January 2023 Updated October 2023 8 lectures More in production
Ms. Sue Hutchinson
University of the West of England, UK

There is no commonly accepted definition of ‘performance management’. As a subject it can be viewed from multiple perspectives such as strategy, operations management, economics, accounting and human resource management. In this series of talks we focus on the last perspective – which is concerned with how to maintain and... read moreimprove individual performance and effectiveness through people management.

In its widest sense, performance management is about ensuring that employees are motivated and have the ability, skills, resources, and support to perform effectively to achieve organisational objectives, and ultimately success. Performance management should not be viewed as a single activity but a collection of inter-related people management practices including appraisals (or reviews), feedback, performance measurement, learning and development, and reward.

Despite its good intentions, however, performance management is one of the most criticised and debated management practices, and managers and employees alike report dissatisfaction with it. Managers find it challenging, bureaucratic and time consuming; employees often view it as a form of management control, complain it is unfair, subject to bias and irrelevant. The problem lies in the practice, and in this series we explore both the theory (or how it is supposed to work), and the practice (the reality of how it does work). More recently organisations have started to question the traditional evaluative approach to performance management and moved to a more informal approach with a focus on feedback and development. This trend and other key debates are also explored in this series.

This series of talks aims to give undergraduate business students an introduction to the field of performance management to enable students to take a more in-depth study later. Each talk in the series will contain at least one real-life example, based on the experience of an actual organisation or individual.