Performance Measurement in Academic Work: Surveillance, Control, and Self-governance

Kirsi-Mari Kallio, Annika Blomberg, Tomi Kallio, Robin Roslender

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


In recent times, performance measurement (PM) and individual performance evaluation have become everyday activities in the higher education sector and the previously collegial university management has taken steps towards a managerial model. The implications of PM for individual academics have had negative tones; resulting for example in increasing stress, anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. Inspired by Foucauldian framework of governmentality, we look at Finnish academics’ experiences of PM in academic work. The empirical material of the study consists of a case study of three Finnish universities. Responses from university employees to open-ended questions collected from a large survey in 2015 with 672 respondents serve as the primary material. The results show that PM combined with ambiguous and undecidable objectives has created a situation where individuals strive to work more and become better, but never reach the point of adequacy. This is where the Foucauldian idea of ‘normality’ merges with the illusionary idea of ‘ideal academic’, causing constant feelings of inadequacy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Proceedings
PublisherAcademy of Management AOM
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventAnnual Meeting of the Academy of Management -
Duration: 7 Aug 202011 Aug 2020


ConferenceAnnual Meeting of the Academy of Management


  • performance measurement
  • academic work

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 0


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