Line managers as catalysts of the effectiveness of the performance management systems : a case of a public higher education institution

14 Oct 2019

This paper analyses the perceptions of the employees on the role played by their line manager in ensuring the success of the performance management system. This paper builds on earlier studies, which found that most performance management systems fail irrespective of how good the systems appear to have been designed. Since line managers are regarded as the gatekeepers of the performance management systems in most organisations, it is therefore, essential to analyse employees' perceptions with regard to the role of their line managers in ensuring that the performance management systems become effective. The study followed a quantitative methodology. Data was collected through a self-administered quantitative survey questionnaire, which was distributed online. Census sampling method was used in which the whole target population were sent a questionnaire to a total of 1775 academic staff in the case university. Approximately 313 questionnaires were returned and analysed. A one-sample t-test was conducted to analyse data. The results revealed that the academic staff members were satisfied with their performance management system because they trusted their line managers in respect of performance management matters. Employees perceive their managers to be knowledgeable about performance management process. Moreover, the results indicate that employees tend to accept the performance management systems that embrace trust, fairness, as well as a guaranteed confidentiality from their line manager. In addition, the results further shed some light that a good line manager -employee relationship that is based on trust or a two-way approach in the performance management process result in highly satisfied employees in terms of their performance ratings, which ultimately translate into successful performance management systems. This paper concludes that a performance management system should be designed in such a way that it is applied consistently to all employees and must take into consideration employees' inputs.