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Performance habitus: performance management and measurement in UK higher education

Khaled Hutaibat (Mutah University, Karak, Jordan)
Zaidoon Alhatabat (Department of Accounting, Faculty of Business, Philadelphia University, Amman, Jordan)
Larissa von Alberti-Alhtaybat (Prince Mohammad Bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship, King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia)
Khaldoon Al-Htaybat (Faculty of Economics and Administration, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

Measuring Business Excellence

ISSN: 1368-3047

Article publication date: 11 February 2021

Issue publication date: 13 May 2021




What academic and managerial elements are particularly influential regarding performance? This study aims to address these questions as part of a broader longitudinal study. The current paper focusses on the results relating to performance management and measurement, and how the sectorial developments impacted on individuals and institutions.


An interpretive research methodology was used, which illustrates the institutional performance management and measurement system. The first part of the interpretive study was a single case study, focussing on one “old” research-intensive university. The second part included five institutions, three UK top-tier universities, focussing on top-level research and education, and two “new” universities with a greater teaching than research portfolio.


The current paper focusses on the results relating to performance management and measurement, and how higher education (HE) developments impacted on individuals and institutions, reflected in the notion of performance habitus. The qualitative element of the study sought to gain insight into which factors influence performance management and measurement and what changing effect these have on academic members of staff. The findings illustrate how academic values and managerial control practices create an academia-specific performance management approach, measured by particular key performance indicators that are used for the institution as a whole and then applied to units and individuals within institutions. With regard to institutional performance, more established and institutionalised performance management and measurement practices are relied upon. Both elements are addressed in this study, and the authors conclude that the interplay of human capital and institutional structure creates the most successful performance-related outcome.


The current study adds additional insights on how the changing HE context affects academic members and how the future of the UK HE sector is perceived. Insights can be derived for other HE sectors, as the contextual factors of international competition, tightening of resources and nature of the academic sector transcend national borders. Thus, practices illustrated in the current study are useful for institutions and academic managers of other HE sectors as well.



Hutaibat, K., Alhatabat, Z., von Alberti-Alhtaybat, L. and Al-Htaybat, K. (2021), "Performance habitus: performance management and measurement in UK higher education", Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 171-188.



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