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Teachers’ perceptions of individual performance-related pay in practice: A picture of a counterproductive pay system
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science, Child and Youth education, Special Education and Counselling.
2012 (English)In: Educational Management Administration & Leadership, ISSN 1741-1432, E-ISSN 1741-1440, Vol. 40, no 3, 376-391 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article describes and discusses Swedish upper-secondary teachers’ perceptions of the effects of individual performance-related pay (PRP) in the context of educational restructuring and governance. The empirical data were generated through semi-structured interviews of 23 teachers. Power’s distinction between programmatic and technological elements of audit is used as a frame of reference for the problematization of the pay system. The findings demonstrate a wide gap between the programmatic goals and their fulfilment in practice. The ability of the pay system to deliver its main objective, to enhance motivation by rewarding good performance, is questioned. The performance assessment criteria are neither well known nor motivate the teachers, and they perceive the appraisal as arbitrary and unfair, with a tendency to reward work of peripheral significance. Employers and teachers are supposed to engage in salary-setting dialogues, but in some cases these dialogues are neglected, and when they do occur the employers frequently do not explain how the quality of their performance is appraised. Implications for the teaching profession are discussed. The study indicates that the PRP system contributes to a shift from occupational to organizational professionalism and challenges a common work culture.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2012. Vol. 40, no 3, 376-391 p.
Keyword [en]
performance pay, audit technology, teacher appraisal, educational restructuring, organizational professionalism
National Category
Educational Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61378DOI: 10.1177/1741143212436954OAI: diva2:567083
Available from: 2012-11-14 Created: 2012-11-12 Last updated: 2013-03-12Bibliographically approved

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Lundström, Ulf
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Child and Youth education, Special Education and Counselling
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