Performance appraisal in Higher Education Institutions in the Kurdistan region: The case of the University of Sulaimani
In contemporary society, nation development relies heavily on the presence and availability of human resources/capabilities. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are vital to create of this human resource. The Kurdistan Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MoHESR) reformed its Higher Education policy in 2009 to enhance service/product quality. The most tangible aspect of these reforms was the evaluation of academic performance. MoHESR claimed it is the duty of academics to invest time/effort to fulfil their contractual obligations. Consequently, a new mechanism of performance appraisal (PA) for evaluating teachers‘ performance was formally launched. Despite its benefits, PA has created many challenges for Kurdistan HEIs due to external and internal factors, including: culture; continual wars; inadequate laws and regulations; political unrest; poor management of HEIs and mismanagement of human resources, which have exposed gaps in effective PA management and dissatisfaction amongst key stakeholders - particularly academics. This exploratory sequential mixed methods study explores the perceptions of senior/middle managers and other stakeholders at different levels of the organisational hierarchy of PA management at the University of Sulaimani (UoS) and examines their experiences of/aspirations for better PA. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to identify the key contextual and institutional factors affecting PA, supported by quantitative data collected through a questionnaire involving 654 teaching staff at UoS. The study reveals PA in Kurdistan HEIs is strongly influenced by contextual factors: cultural dimensions; legal characteristics; political hegemony, which have eroded attention to human values so human resource activities were not fully embraced in Kurdistan HEIs. Consequently, PA is challenged by: low commitment, support and enthusiasm from top management; little engagement between PA and institutional strategy; unclear purpose/standards; little communication; poor training; unfavourable rewards; absence of interviews, equality and promptness in the process. The study presents a final model of PA more suited to the Kurdistan HE context and makes recommendations for government, MoHESR, HEIs, leaders and faculty members.
- School of Art and Design