New academic research initiatives are tapping into the multicultural approach to performance management

The variability of Performance Management has long been studied, based on the principle that human behaviours play a critical role in managerial control systems. There is abundant literature demonstrating that human behaviours, as well as cultural factors, represent an important factor that can influence the effectiveness of Performance Management Systems.
This question comes under the wider debate of subjectivism in performance management theory, suggesting that social-constructivist is the right scientific approach to embrace the complexity of performance management and control frameworks in international contexts. Individuals and groups are seen as forming and negotiating notions and ideas of each other and the nature of perceived reality in the course of their interactions. These become habituated into reciprocal roles, relationships, and interactions, and are institutionalized when introduced and maintained by newcomers to the group. Under such approach, Performance Management Systems may have different meanings and reflect what people believe reality to be as socially constructed. Performance Management Systems are contingent on and embedded in these social and cultural interactions, processes, and contexts.
Although some recent evolutions in conceptual models of performance management can be noticed, trying to embrace a more contextual approach, several scholars have claimed for further investigations in examining international variations in the design and use of, as the most common example, the Balanced Scorecard across organizations.  More generally, several scholars argue that globalization may engender the growing belief that there has been too much Euro-centric approach in management theory, and propose an integrative model of management which can combine Eastern and Western perspectives. We believe that this trend will lead to significant evolutions in performance management theory and models in the future.
Recent research study aims to propose a methodology for cultural competence in the design of performance management systems. This research investigates the interrelations between the behavioural preferences of individual members of an organisation – as objectively quantified on a continua of cultural orientations – and their attitudes towards Performance Management Systems inside the organization.  The study will be carried out in the Higher Education Sector and will use primary data collected from a number of Higher Education Institutions.

We believe that the Higher Education sector offers a very good landscape for researchers to study on different types of Performance Management Systems in relation to the  cultural context. Firstly, the education system worldwide goes currently through transformation changes which require the use of performance management systems for various purposes (stakeholder, accountability, reporting…). Secondly it is globalizing and becomes more and more competitive. Thirdly it provides opportunity for cross-disciplinary studies by mixing intercultural communication and management experts to participate in the research.

by Jean-Yves Le Corre. email:

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