Given the budgetary challenges facing most government organizations, the use of performance management techniques is expected to become even more important in the future. Yet, few managers receive formal training in the use of organizational performance management tools and techniques.
Courses on the topic are available from private sector providers, but the majority of business schools do not specifically integrate the teaching of organizational performance management methods into their management education curriculum.
Cycles of change
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, established in 1881, is recognized by many as the first formalized, university-based management education program. Prior to Wharton, most management programs were provided by private training firms whose focus was on the mechanics of "organizing" such as the creation of budgets and direct supervision of staff.
Following Wharton, hundreds of business schools emerged, but many were criticized for lack of academic rigour. Universities adjusted by hiring staff with strong academic credentials and by emphasizing research. Accordingly, research output improved but, some would argue, the focus on research rigour also insulated business schools from industry.
Recently, most business schools have taken the approach of balancing academic rigour with industry partnerships to ensure that management education curricula meet practical requirements. Two salient factors endemic to the modern approach are relevancy and integration. Relevancy refers to continually adapting the curriculum to reflect management competencies needed in organizations. Integration refers to ensuring linkages across the various courses so that graduates have a broader understanding of how each business function contributes to overall organizational effectiveness.