The Behavioral Effects of the Performance Management System Implemented at Federico II University: A Case Study on the Directors on the Central Administration

Alexandra Birladeanu & Paola Pagan

Student thesis: Master thesis


The central focus of this master thesis was to understand the behavioral effects determined by the implementation of a performance management system in a public sector institution. The paper followed the case of the Federico II university, where the behavioral responses of the administrative directors were analyzed, in relation to the PMS developed for the central administration. For this purpose, the authors formulated the following research question and sub-questions: How is the behavior of the directors at Federico II affected by the current performance management system? Guided by the related sub-questions: a) What is the design of the PMS implemented at Federico II? b) What are the behavioral responses of the directors? In order to conduct this research, the authors defined a set of behavioral effects based on an extensive literature review, aimed at creating a prior knowledge of the phenomenon. These shaped the theoretical framework used in examining the present case study. The effects defined are: motivation, cooperation, coordination, strategic focus, role understanding, perception of subjectivity, justice and trust, judgement bias, conflicts and tensions and dysfunctional behavior. With regards to the methodological considerations, the authors chose to do a qualitative research, with data collected via in-depth interviews with the directors from the central administration at Federico II. These provided valuable insight into their perceptions about the PMS and the way this influences their behavior. The authors presented the interview data in an objective way, by backing up their findings with relevant passages from the interviews. The discussion however, partly reflects the authors’ understanding of the findings, thus involving a certain degree of subjectivity. The findings have shown that the PMS implemented at the university is perceived by the directors as having, overall, a positive effect on their behavior, as it sets clear objectives to be achieved, being at the same time a useful monitoring tool for evaluating their performance, as well as that of their subordinates. The study confirmed also that perfect management systems do not exist, but a balance, between the elements, especially the single design choices and the effects these lead to, should be ensured by any organization according to its own needs.

EducationsMSc in Accounting, Strategy and Control, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages146
SupervisorsAllan Hansen