Managerial competences and differential performance in further education colleges : a case study of four further education colleges in England

Ojolo, Akin (2011) Managerial competences and differential performance in further education colleges : a case study of four further education colleges in England. (DBA thesis), Kingston University, .


The last decade has witnessed an unprecedented attempt to improve performance outputs from public sector organizations as a whole. This has culminated in a range of government reforms across the whole of the public sector based on the principles of accountability, targets and measurements. Underpinning the performance improvement drive within the public sector is an emerged concept of new public management (NPM) regime which mirrors the management practices of the private sector. This work focuses on the Further Education sector as an entity within the public sector services underpinned by the broad theoretical context to understand why FE colleges with similar characteristics perform differently. The OFSTED report, “Why colleges succeed or Fail” (2004) found a strong correlation between Ofsted’s assessment of management effectiveness and performance of the institutions. Those that were awarded Grade 1 for leadership and management recorded outstanding overall performance output and those judged to have weak leadership and management recorded overall poor performance output. It is would seem logical to draw a conclusion that the quality of FE leadership impacts on the quality and value of its service. This work explores this relationship in greater depth. The focus of this study was to explore the extent to which managerial competences within a situated cultural and structural content contributed to the differences in the performance of FE colleges in England and Wales. The overall objective was to analyse how the competences of senior managers, defined as formal qualification, professional experience, professional functional skills and personal attributes interact with organizational factors such as structure and culture to impact on performance. There is a lack of knowledge on the subject and this hinders the ability to place a value on the quality of leadership in the FE sector and its importance in organizational performance. Four colleges were chosen for the study from East London. The four colleges were from the same socio- economic catchment and they fell within the four categories of Ofsted performance measurements: Outstanding, Good, Satisfactory and Poor. The methodology used in this study examined the phenomena of interest in the four colleges through a process of semi-structured interviews which provided an in-depth and contextual understanding of the problem in a case study scenario. In total 27 managers were interviewed for the study, of which 3 were the college principals, 16 senior managers and 8 middle managers. A performance framework was developed from the research findings which provides some of the answers to the key research questions. Broadly, the findings suggest that some elements of managerial competences such as formal qualifications, personal attributes and educational or managerial orientations within a specific cultural climate and structure contributed to the differential performance outputs of the four FE colleges. The performance framework identified three strong relationship links between these elements which collectively would produce a strong performance outcome. The thesis makes two key contributions to existing knowledge. First, it introduces a conceptual framework that could inform managerial decision making in such a way as to achieve effective performance output from an FE college. The findings could also have a possible broader application across public sector organizations. In addition, the work also makes contributions to extant management literature by either providing some evidence of the relevance of some of the existing work or providing an alternative view to the current lines of thinking.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page