The idea that good management practices matter for organizational performance is widely accepted. An expanding literature suggests that better management practices improve the performance of organizations in various industries including manufacturing, health care, education, and government. In this paper we aim to present a more contextualized perspective. In particular, we examine how management practices affect performance in complex organizations that have multiple and potentially competing performance goals, that is, higher education.
To examine the impact of management practices on teaching and research outcomes, we analyze unique, nationally representative, and granular data that we collected from close to 300 university departments, 5,000 faculty, and 40,000 students in India. Through analyzing these data, we produce three novel sets of findings. First, we find that better management practices, on average, do not have significant effects on domain-specific or domain-general aspects of student learning. Any positive relationship between management practices and student learning disappears once we control for selection by student ability into institutions. Second, and by contrast, we find that better management practices—in particular better target-setting and performance-oriented practices—significantly increase faculty research productivity. Third, we find that the effect of better management practices depends on the performance goals of institutions.
This lecture is part of the 2018-2019 South Asia Colloquia series co-sponsored by Shorenstein APARC and the Center for South Asia .