A performance management approach for provincial office-based educators
Herman, Walter Terence
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The aim of the study was to suggest an approach to the implementation of Performance Management and Development (PMDS) for office based educators in the Northern Cape, South Africa. There seems to be dissatisfaction with public employee performance management systems in the Northern Cape. Poor implementation of employee performance management and development systems can be attributed to flaws in the systems itself or to the human implementers. Lack of understanding of the system, unfair and inconsistent implementation, manipulation of the system and low commitment are cited as the most common reasons why public employee performance management fail. The research was designed to derive interpretive schemes through a literature study on concepts central to employee performance management, and through a document analysis of public performance management systems and frameworks (PMDS, EPMDS and government planning, monitoring and evaluation frameworks). Literature reviews and document analysis provided a framework from which semi-structured interviews could be conducted with office-based educators and participants that resort under another public employee performance management system (EPMDS). Employee Performance management ultimately aims to reward excellent performance and offer development opportunities for underperformance. It is specifically the reward aspect that leaves PMDS open to abuse as supervisors may use the system to victimise subordinates. Emancipation from abusive power relations is a key aspect of the critical community psychology approach which also served as theoretical framework for the study. Key findings of the study include that, despite good intention (motivation), reward for good performance seems to have adverse effect in that it threatens the very harmonious relationships between staff that it hopes to promote. The subjective aspects of performance ratings provide opportunity for bias and power relations, which bedevils the noble intentions of public performance management systems. Development opportunities provided by the system also do not serve its intended purposes, and is often thwarted by the budget constraints and poor planning. Furthermore, the critical aim of enhancing organisational performance is missed because of a disjuncture between employee performance management and organizational planning, monitoring and evaluation. Through a triangulation of the findings from literature reviews, document analysis and semi-structured interviews, this study aimed to produce new knowledge in the form of a suggested approach to a performance management system that seemingly did not serve its purpose. The suggested approach should give credibility to the performance management system for office-based educators and reduce dissatisfaction with it.