Performance Assessment Systems and the Transformation of the Academic Profession in Portugal
The introduction of a performance assessment model based upon the measurement of merit through explicit, standardized, and objective criteria of productivity has provoked significant changes in the academic profession within the public higher education in Portugal. Given that employment security was made contingent upon obtaining adequate positive scores and promotion upon achieving maximum scores, a new institutional culture framed by precariousness and competition seems to have emerged. Moreover, as a consequence of austerity and with it the freezing of the pay awards associated with a promotion, the positive effects of excellent performance have been suppressed, while punitive measures for inadequate performance have been maintained. Based on ongoing qualitative research consisting of analysis of union position statements, interviews with union representatives, and interviews with academic staff of a Portuguese higher education institution, this article advances the hypothesis that evolution has taken place from resistance to routinization and acceptance of assessment procedures.
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