Performance Management in Schools: Could the Balanced Scorecard Help?
School Leadership and Management, 22(3) 321 -338.
'Performance management', in various guises, and usually in very incomplete forms, has been used in schools in many countries for some considerable time. Recently, partly as a consequence of government policy, more formalised versions of these have been attempted in the UK. Many of these policy initiatives have been met with criticism and resistance--often on the grounds that they poorly reflect the rich complexity of teachers' work. Where performance-related pay has been used as a key element of performance management, one of the major causes of complaint has been that this device distorts the assessment of 'contribution' by focusing attention on too narrow an agenda. It was, in part, to overcome these kinds of reservations about early forms of performance management (and, crucially, performance measurement) in other sectors that the concept of the 'Balanced Scorecard' was developed in the early 1990s. Since that time this tool has been sustained and refined. It is in the course of being extensively applied and tested in the public and private sectors alike. It has been argued that organisations that seek multiple objectives--and public sector service organisations in particular--would find this approach especially appropriate to their needs. Indeed, in the White Paper Modernising Government (House of Commons 1999) the case is made for the use of such a mechanism for the public services. This paper makes three contributions. First, it describes and examines the nature of the Balanced Scorecard as a conceptual framework and as a management information tool. Second, the potential and the limitations of the approach in a schools context are identified and discussed. Third, a research agenda is outlined.
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