About the project

Performance measurement involves quantifying aspects of organisational and individual behaviour in order to monitor, rank or manage this conduct. It is now central to public governance and used to allocate funding, services and benefits. By attaching rewards and penalties to these forms of calculation, performance measurement actively seeks to shape organisational, social and individual practices. This can have considerable impact upon the lives of citizens, and significantly reshapes policy domains and political relationships. This four year multidisciplinary project is conducting a sustained examination of the social, political and ethical dynamics of performance management in Australian social policy. It involves a comparative analysis of performance management across four different policy domains:

  • Schooling: National Assessment Program - Literacy And Numeracy (NAPLAN)
  • Higher education: Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) & Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ)
  • Primary health care: Medicare Locals
  • Social security: Customer satisfaction

Research Team

Associate Professor Paul Henman (UQ)
Professor Michele Foster (Menzies Health Institute Qld, Griffith University)
Professor Robert Lingard (UQ)
Professor Richard James (University of Melbourne)
Professor Mitchell Dean (Copenhagen Business School)
Professor Michael Power (London School of Economics)
Dr Alison Gable (UQ)

Associate researchers

Karen Sheppard (PhD candidate, UQ)
Dr Elizabeth Strakosch (Lecturer, UQ)
Dr Theresa Souter

Research Activities

The study has involved two phases:

  1. Mapping performance measurement systems across each policy domain, through documentary analysis and interviewing of senior policy makers and organisational stakeholders.
  2. Conducting detailed front-line case studies in each policy domain. This involves interviews with localised managers, professionals, administrators and service users.

Data collection for the project has been completed and analysis in ongoing. The project runs from 2011 to 2015.

Publications

2016

Foster, M., Henman, P., Gable, A., Denton, M. (in press) Population health performance as primary health care governance in Australia: Professionals and the politics of performance. Policy Studies.

Henman, P., (in press) Performing the State: the socio-political dimensions of performance measurement in policy and public services. Policy Studies. DOI:10.1080/01442872.2016.1144739

Henman, P., (under review) Techniques and paradoxes in performing performance measurements: Concluding reflections. Policy Studies

Lingard, B., Thompson, G., and Sellar, S. (Eds) (2016) National testing: an Australian assessment. London: Routledge.

Gable, A. and Lingard, B. (2016) NAPLAN data: A new policy assemblage and mode of governance in Australian schooling. Policy Studies. DOI:10.1080/01442872.2015.1115830

2015

Henman, P., (2015) ‘Are Australian universities getting better at research or at gaming the system?’, The Conversation, 8 December, https://theconversation.com/are-australian-universities-getting-better-at-research-or-at-gaming-the-system-51895

Henman, P. and Gable, A. (2015) “Schooling” performance measurement: The politics of governing teacher conduct in Australia. Policy & Society, 34, 1, 63-74.

2014

Henman, P. and Luong Phan, N H. (2014) CEQ and the performance regime in Australian Higher Education, Research Paper No. 7, Social Policy Unit, University of Queensland, Brisbane.

Henman, P., Strakosch, E., Gable, A., Foster, M., Lingard, B, James, R., Dean, M. (unpublished) Multidimensional Analysis of Performance Measurement Systems (MAPS) in Public Governance: A trans-disciplinary framework; working paper

2013

Gable, A. (2013) ERA and the performance regime in Australian Higher Education: A review of the policy context, Research Paper No. 6, Social Policy Unit, University of Queensland, Brisbane.

Gable, A. and Foster, M. (2013) Medicare Locals and the performance regime in Primary Health Care: A review of the policy context, Research Paper No. 5, Social Policy Unit, University of Queensland, Brisbane.

Gable, A. and Lingard, B. (2013) NAPLAN and the performance regime in Australian Schooling: A review of the policy context, Research Paper No. 4, Social Policy Unit, University of Queensland, Brisbane.

Presentations

2015

Henman, P., Foster, M., Lingard, B, James, R., Gable, A. (2015) Professionalism, performance measurement, public services and policy: A critical comparative study of performance governance in Australia. TASA, 23-26 November, Cairns.

Henman, P., Power, M., Foster, M., James, R., Lingard, B., Gable, A. (2015) Dynamics of professionalism and performance measurement regimes in health and education: Advancing the Audit Trail framework. Conference: Street-level research in the employment and social policy area, 18-19 November, Copenhagen.

Henman, P., Lingard, B., James, R., Gable, A., Foster, M., Power, M., Dean, M. (2015) The Rise of Performance Governance in Australian Higher Education: Comparing the influences of performance measurement in Higher Education, Schooling and Primary Health Care . Research Seminar, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, The University of Melbourne.

2014

Gable, A. and Henman, P. (2014) Tracking the social lives of NAPLAN as audit trails. AARE-NZARE 30 November-4 December, Brisbane.

Gable, A., Lingard, B. and Henman, P. (2014) Mobilising, mediating and managing NAPLAN: The decoupling practices in Queensland. AARE-NZARE 30 November-4 December, Brisbane.

2013

Henman, P. (2013) ‘Performance measurement and constitution of unthought”’ paper presented at The Politics and Consequences of Performance Measurement Workshop, 11 December 2013, Melbourne.

Sauter, T. and Henman, P. (2013) ‘Stop measuring and let us get on with our work: Street-level responses to performance measurement in Australian higher education’, paper presented at The Australian Sociological Association Conference, 25-28 November, Monash University, Melbourne.

Henman, P., Gable, A., Lingard, B. and Foster, M. (2013) The performance of street-level bureaucrats: The operation of performance measurement in governing and transforming teacher conduct in Australia. International Conference for Public Policy, 26-28 June, Grenoble.

Henman, P., Gable, A., Lingard, B, & Foster, M. (2013) The performance of street-level bureaucrats: The operation of performance measurement in governing and transforming teacher conduct in Australia, paper presented at the International Conference for Public Policy 2013, 26-28 June, Grenoble, France; and at Social Policy in Challenging Times, Social Policy Association Conference 2013, 8-10 July, Sheffield, UK.

2012

Gable, A. and Lingard, R. (2012) ‘Making sense of governance and performance measurement: The dynamics of NAPLAN’, paper presented at AARE-APERA 2012, 2-6 December, Sydney.

Events

14th December 2015 – The Analytics of Power Today, A Masterclass with Professor Mitchell Dean – Lecture Recording

15th December 2015 – Public Lecture: Professor Mitchell Dean, Copenhagen Business School – The neoliberalism controversy and Saint Foucault

9th April 2014 - Public Lecture: Professor Michael Power, LSE - Living in an Audit Society: Performance reporting systems after the global financial crisis - Lecture Recording

21st July 2014 - Public Lecture: Professor Patrick Le Galès, Sciences Po - In a large metropolis, what is governed? - Lecture Recording

Funding

This project, Technologies of Performance, Technologies of Governance, is supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP110100803).

Project members

Associate Professor Paul Henman

Associate Professor
School of Social Science