Monthly Archives: May 2014

All in this together #CranfieldDBA Research

All In This Together Poster-v3

Poster based on research by Ruth Murray-Webster.

Join Ruth by registering for our upcoming webinar on Thursday 5th June at 15:30-16:30 (UK time).

Ruth will be summarising her own research on Planned Change and reflecting on her experience through the Cranfield International Executive Doctorate (DBA) Programme.

There will be a contribution from Prof David Denyer, as Ruth’s panel advisor along with information about the programme from its Director, Dr Emma Parry – plus that all-important opportunity for Q&As with any of our webinar presenters.

We hope to see you online!

Download the free high-resolution poster on Slideshare

See more about our DBA Webinars here


Performance Management in UK Higher Education Institutions: The need for a hybrid approach

Abstract of an academic report, on behalf the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, by Dr Monica Franco-Santos, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University; Dr Pilar Rivera, University of Zaragoza; and Professor Mike Bourne, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University.

UKHEI_ReportThis research investigates current practice and trends in the institutional performance management of UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

We adopt a holistic view of institutional performance management – we understand it as a package or a system of the formal and informal mechanisms an institution uses to facilitate the delivery of its mission. Individual performance development reviews or appraisals are just one small component of an institutional performance management system.


  • Traditionally, HEIs have seen themselves as stewards of knowledge and education, focusing on long-term scholarly goals comprising the development of knowledge and the greater good for society at large.
  • This view of HEIs is changing, as they are currently becoming more short-term and results/outputs driven due to the increased pressures to perform (e.g., international competition, reduced financial resources, research assessment frameworks, rankings).
  • HEIs are intensifying their use of performance management mechanisms at all levels to facilitate the delivery of their goals.
  • Nevertheless, we know little about the type of performance management mechanisms used in UK HEIs and the influence these mechanisms have on the wellbeing of staff and the performance of HEIs as a whole. This research was designed to address these gaps in our knowledge.

Research methods

  • We used case studies to look at the performance management mechanisms in six universities. Three Russell Group and three post-1992 universities were involved and the research focused on both academic and administrative staff. This included interviewing 110 key informants from across institutions, from vice chancellors to front line staff in central services and in four schools/faculties (Education, Math, Business & Management, and Art).
  • We also surveyed staff working in 162 UK HEIs through an online survey obtaining over 1000 usable responses. The results from the survey were combined with other publicly available data, from the National Student Satisfaction survey, the last Research Assessment Exercise, the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), and the Universities and College Union’s (UCU) academic staff wellbeing survey.


  • The performance management mechanisms UK HEIs use can be classified into two categories: stewardship-based and agency-based.
  • Stewardship approaches focus on long-term outcomes through people’s knowledge and values, autonomy and shared-leadership within a high trust environment.
  • Agency approaches focus on short-term results or outputs through greater monitoring and control.
  • Most UK HEIs adopt a combination of stewardship and agency performance management mechanisms but most institutions are moving towards an increased adoption and greater use of agency mechanisms.
  • Institutions with a mission that is focused on long-term and highly complex goals, which are difficult or very costly to measure (e.g., research excellence, contribution to society) are likely to benefit from relying on stewardship performance management mechanisms to convey their mission.
  • Institutions with a mission that is focused on short-term and low complex goals, which are often easy or economical to measure (e.g., cost-reduction, surplus maximization) are likely to benefit from relying on agency performance management mechanisms to convey their mission.
  • Institutions with a diverse mission including goals with various degrees of complexity and time orientation will benefit from relying on a hybrid performance management approach.
  • Most people in professional, administrative and support roles find agency performance management mechanisms helpful as they provide greater clarity and focus.
  • Most people in academic roles find agency performance management mechanisms such as individual performance reviews as unhelpful and dysfunctional.
  • Institutions’ use of stewardship mechanisms is associated with higher levels of staff wellbeing as well as higher student satisfaction.

Full academic report

Comments on report

Business Performance Management on the Cranfield Knowledge Interchange

2 July 2014 #CranfieldDBA Webinar

Engage with Cranfield’s research programmes team from the comfort of your own computer or mobile device (latest version of android devices only – please note: Mobile access to webinars is currently unsupported by WebEx due to the multitude of phone options & software versions).

Our webinar series features DBA Researchers who aim to give you a flavour of their experiences and achievements whilst studying for an Executive Doctorate with Cranfield. Also included is an overview of the structure and content of the Cranfield International Executive Doctorate and the opportunity to ask questions to each of the presenters.

Next webinar: Wednesday 2nd July 2014
Topic: A transformation – my DBA story: Dr Michael McGrath & Dr Nneka Abulokwe
Host: International Executive Doctorate (DBA) Programme, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University
Date: Wednesday 2 July 2014 at 1500hrs (UK Time) – 1 hour in duration

Dr Emma Parry, Director, International Executive Doctorate (DBA) and Reader in Human Resource Management welcomes a valuable contribution to this DBA webinar series by Dr Michael McGrath, DBA Alumnus (1999 cohort) & Co-Founder, Lainstone and Dr Nneka Abulokwe (1998 cohort), Exec Director, Operations & Governance at Steria Group.

Having completed his DBA in 2004, Michael was one of the very first to undertake the programme at Cranfield, back in 1999, with a thesis entitled ‘Decision Making in Unfamiliar Problem Domains: Evidence from the Investment Banking Industry’, supervised by Dr David Partington.

At the other end of the DBA Alumni timeline, Nneka just completed her DBA in 2013 with a thesis entitled ‘From imposed to the co-developed governance processes in IT captive offshoring engagements’, supervised by Dr Jonathan Lupson.

Michael and Nneka will talk us through their research and DBA experience, explaining how it has contributed to their career so far.

The webinar will provide information and insight into the Cranfield International Executive Doctorate (DBA) and there will be an opportunity to ask questions at the end.

To register
Please register via this web link:

Cranfield International Executive Doctorate (DBA)

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