Issues in managing performance the manager's tale
This thesis builds on the first configuration model developed and expanded in the IFS. The model considers the factors that impact on managers as they undertake performance management of their staff. This thesis transforms the original model through a second and into a third and final configuration. The questions that underpin this research are concerned with managers' experiences as they engage in managing performance and explore the triggers that enable managers to begin a process of, and sustain, managing underperformance within their team. The methodology and research approach adopted is that of social construction which allows managers' worlds to be co-constructed. In undertaking this study, researcher reflexivity was developed, by engaging with colleagues and other interested individuals. The research discourse was not a neutral process and emotioning in research was explicitly recognised. The research design and methods of data collection worked with senior managers across public and private sectors and also engaged with manager groups to provide situations where emerging constructions could be worked up. This continuing professional engagement gave a way of interacting with the emerging discourse to refine the constructions. The research findings identify the significance of contextual factors within any manager's world and the increasing importance of external conditions such as Best Value. The idea of potent and impotent organisations in sustaining a high performance culture is created and the characteristics of each identified. The concept of "other" emerged as managers described the individual who was underperforming and the level of fear and emotional impact on them as they engaged with the "other" in performance management. During the research managers described their feelings in different ways but there was a universal factor - managers do have feelings. Performance management is a Wicked Problem and the rhetoric belies the level of complexity that this research has identified namely - There is no definitive Problem, there is no definitive Solution. Finally the research recommends action for policy makers and managers in order to better develop the systems and processes needed to achieve super performance.