University dean personal characteristics and use of management control systems and performance measures

Belete J. Bobe, Ralph Kober

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing on upper echelon theory, we investigate whether university deans’ personal characteristics, including age, sex, educational background, and tenure are associated with their use of university management control systems (MCS), financial performance measures, and non-financial performance measures. We surveyed the dean of every faculty across Australia’s 39 public universities. Our results indicate that deans’ personal characteristics are associated with the emphasis they place on financial and non-financial performance measures and the manner in which they use MCS. Given the decision-making powers of deans in the corporatised university, this differing emphasis on performance measures and varying use of MCS is likely to impact university outcomes. We offer suggestions as to how university MCS could be designed and performance measures presented to take into account the particular characteristics of deans to enhance university outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-257
Number of pages23
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Levers of control
  • management control systems
  • performance measures
  • universities
  • upper echelon theory

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