ERG SES E 12, Research in Higher Education
This paper presents a review of literature on the policies and practices of Performance Based Management (PBM) in universities in Finland and South Korea. Focusing mainly on the issues of autonomy, incentives, assessment, identity, academic work and ethos, the paper aims is to examine the impacts of PBM on academics in both countries. In order to give nuance to the inquiry, the paper comparatively explores how the culture of performativity finds expression within Finnish and South Korean higher education contexts.
In pursuance of the above, the paper addresses the following research questions:
- How do previous studies characterize the impacts of PBM on the academics in Finland and S.Korea?
- How is it different or similar in the studies of Finland and S. Korea?
Performativity refers to governing people through PBM rationality such as efficiency, competition and accountability. Specifically, this entails that actors accept, allow and recognise the fact of what should be performed; that performance is continuously and reiteratively measured, compared and displayed and, that rewards and sanctions are given according to the results of performance. Hence, performativity is pursuing the effective usage of resource by measuring and determining true value (Tolofari, 2005, 86), sophistically permeates mind-set and behaviour of actors. Value, judgement, display, incentive (or penalty) and self-controlling for the performance secure the justification for actors through the discourse of efficiency, which thrives in the atmosphere of competition and accountability (Ball, 2003, Gunter 2015, 76). These are ‘disciplinary techniques for taking charge of the behaviour of individual day by day and in its fine detail is exactly contemporaneous with the age of freedom’ (Foucault, 2008, 67).
Competitive academics in performative ethos should develop accountability, agility (Gillies, 2011), familiarity with numbers (audits) and performativity to obtain high scores that can demonstrate their rank, capability and competitiveness; this will help them to obtain more funding and a higher status (Ball, 2012; Musselin, 2013). For instance, the academics who can cooperate with industry and who are more valued in applied science, more competent when it comes to receiving outside funds and more efficient in creating products, such as articles or projects, are more recognised in university. In addition, academics increasingly need to survive in a casual, competitive environment (Callinicos, 2006, 23; Shore & Davidson, 2014). Likewise, as PBM has been prevailing, research funding scheme and new salary system significantly impact on the research and teaching of academics (Kallio & Kallio, 2014; Oh, 2009).
In this paper, considering the advocates and critics of PBM on academics, issues concerning academic freedom, evaluation, incentive, task and time, and ethos are actively discussed. These themes are applicable to the practice, mechanism and essence of PBM on academics in the broad scope. The classification is not clearly divided, rather all the aspects are interwoven. It is linked to the questions of what is (should be) performed, how is it to be assessed and displayed, and what is rewarded or sanctioned. Furthermore, in matters regarding the essence of PBM, efficiency, productivity and transparency, is commingling.
This paper derives from a review of the literature concerned with PBM on academics in the research universities in Finland and S. Korea. The studies published in the refereed journals for the period 2000-2018 were gathered. The studies on Finnish academics were searched in the international journals written in English; while the ones pertaining to Korean academics were searched in domestic and international journals written in English and Korean. The study is limited by the author’s poor knowledge of Finnish language, which precludes the review of articles that are written in Finnish. Different in sizes of domestic journal markets in Finland and S. Korea is also limitation. The key terms searched were mainly ‘Performance based management (PBM)’and ‘University’ and ‘Academics’. The expanded terms of PBM were ‘Performativity’, ‘Performative ethos’, ‘New Public Management (New Managerialism)’, ‘University Marketisation’, ‘Management by results’, ‘Entrepreneurial University’, ‘Academic Capitalism’, ‘Neoliberalism in university’; ‘Higher education’, or ‘Research university’ were also used as alternative terms for ‘University’; Instead of ‘Academics’, ‘Professors’, ‘Lecturers’, ‘Researchers’ or ‘Tenure track’ were also used. In addition, the terms embracing the specific policies or systems of PBM on academics such as academic career, funding scheme, salary system and academic identity were also searched. Search on Finnish research in the topic was done mainly in ERIC, EBSCOHost, and Google scholar. Though articles in Finnish language were not sought, the number of articles in English pertaining to the Finnish context is nevertheless, sufficient to understand the main context. The Korean studies were explored through searching in RISS, KISS, DBpia and National Assembly e-library. These are the Korean online databases and search engine so that articles published in the domestic journal can be collected. Moreover, Google scholar, ERIC and EBSCOHost were also included for searching the articles published in international journals. Overall, 62 articles and 83 articles were reviewed for the Finnish and Korean contexts respectively. The research prioritized studies that are based on empirical data, and those that examine performative ethos at micro-levels of interaction. The data were sorted out according to purpose, measure, findings and the implementation levels (institutional or individual level).
The Findings are discussed in the six themes in the research universities in Finnish and S.Korean contexts: Task and time, Academic ethos, Academic autonomy, Assessment, Incentive, and Identity. With regards to the practice of PBM, the academics’ tasks and time, and academic ethos has been impacted. For instance, neglecting teaching task, impoverishment of academic time, academic production stress, intensive competition, moral dilemma and fabrication culture has been problematic (e.g. Ylijoki & Ursin, 2013; Jauhiainen et al., 2015; Kallio et al., 2016; Shin & Jung, 2014; Son, 2016 etc.). In addition, the iterative assessment by results and incentives through recruitment and salary system has caused the crisis of academic autonomy (e.g. Kallio & Kallio, 2014; Shin & Jung, 2014 etc.). Those impacts of PBM on academic, in turn, might give rise to identity crisis as an academic in performative ethos (Brunila, 2015, 8; Jung, 2018). To recap briefly, the rationales for the introduction of PBM were similar in economic and globalisation aspects. Despite the contrasting social systems – emphasizing equality vs. competition- general tendency and direction of university changes and its impact on academics are similar and parallel, not only in context but also in periodic aspect. Furthermore, the main issues academics have encountered in performative regime are similar, such as salary system, recruitment and promotion, autonomy and collegiality. Nevertheless, the socio-cultural aspects of two countries have influenced the academic in performative ethos such as seniority system, nepotism, degree of trust and competitive ethos. The degree and range of change to PBM are also different in two countries, such as introduction of salary system by results.
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