Today's Monday Forum focuses on management. I leave it in your hands as to the direction we go!
Over on Managing the Professional Services Firm, Monday Management - common management problems: the micro-manager, continues the Monday Management series. Have you experienced micro-management? How did you cope?
In a responses to Sunday Essay - economists and the decline of economics, Winton Bates added some background experience on the UNE agricultural economics experience. I wonder what your views are on the decline of the traditional disciplines? Am I just an old fuddy-duddy? I suppose, and this is far worse, that I might be that and still right!
Winton,however, did far more. He sent me a Harvard Business School working paper on the dangers of goal setting. This was a wonderful gift, and one that I will come back to in a later post.
I have often written about the dangers and misuse of goal setting and performance measurement. Consider a simple example,
If each business wants to set stretch targets, to do well above average, then it follows that most will fail. That's fine, but what happens if it's our superannuation funds at stake? Has Australian super become almost a zero-sum game in which most of us must lose?
I leave it in your hands to comment. Just keep a loose focus on management, financial performance or indeed any form of performance!
I had been vaguely aware of the OECD's Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes (AHELO) project. The OECD describes it in these terms:
The OECD is carrying out a Feasibility Study for the Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes. The purpose of this Feasibility Study is to see if it is practically and scientifically feasible to assess what students in higher education know and can do upon graduation.
More than a ranking, the AHELO assessment aims to be direct evaluation of student performance at the global level and valid across diverse cultures, languages and different types of institutions.
A full scale AHELO would be a a “low stakes” voluntary international comparative assessment designed to provide higher education institutions with feedback on the learning outcomes of their students and which they can use to foster improvement in student learning outcomes.
The thing that drew it to my attention were favourable references to the test as a way of forcing competitive standards on universities, citing in favourable terms the widespread and accepted use of standardised testing in schools. That makes it sound a little like a variant of MySchool for universities.
Comments still open. Two follow up questions from the discussion:
- Is goal setting at personal level fundamentally different from goal setting at organisational level?
- Well, not really from the questions, but the NSW Government has just released a new Performance Development Framework. Do you understand it? What do you think?
To set a context for the last question, this is the opening blurb:
The Public Service Commission’s task is to drive the most significant reforms the NSW public sector has seen in a generation to build a high-performance culture and enhance the sector’s ability to meet the community’s service needs.
Underpinning a high performance culture is an effective system for managing individual, team and organisational performance.
This framework contains the essential elements and mandatory guidelines for agency performance development systems and sets the approach for managing all aspects of employee performance in the NSW public sector.