Framing the Use of Performance Measurement in Universities: The more you know, the less you dare

The Essex Accounting Centre (EAC) warmly invites you to join guest speaker Professor Mariannunziata Liguori, Professor of Management Accounting at Queen's University Belfast.

  • Wed 4 Nov 20

    14:00 - 16:00

  • Online

    Via Zoom

  • Event speaker

    Professor Mariannunziata Liguori, Queens's University Belfast

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Essex Accounting Centre (EAC) Research Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Essex Business School

  • Contact details

    Dr Danson Kimani

The aim of the Essex Accounting Centre (EAC) research seminar series is to support our world-class research activities in four key areas: social responsibility and corporate governance; (management) accounting change (in privatised, public and third sectors); global development, corruption and accountability; and reporting, regulation and capital markets. The seminar series is also expected to promote interdisciplinary research that links the work of members of the centre with others both within the university and with external institutions.

Seminar abstract

There has been, over time, a progressive movement in public service provision towards an increased focus on performance measurement and quantifiable results for both individuals and organisations.

Driven largely by the managerial ideas of the New Public Management agenda, many publicly-funded organisations (and governments) have sort develop (or impose) performance measures and targets.

A similar process of reform has taken place within universities.

The role of universities, generally not-for-profit and mission driven, concerned with underpinning economic growth through the provision of higher-level skills and ground-breaking research, has been much discussed and debated. 

This study presented, draws on framing theory (Goffman, 1974; Snow and Benford, 2000) to highlight that, while a large number of organisations may adopt similar performance measurement systems, what differs across them is often the reactions they have, the processes they follow and the results they achieve.

The research is based on interpretive comparative case studies of four UK universities selected following criterion sampling. Namely two research-intensive and older universities, and two more recently recognised post-1992 universities.

Preliminary results show a general lack of contestation of the managerial frames externally proposed (especially by government, for instance, through TEF and REF exercises) in Business Schools of both older research intensive, and post-1992 universities. The proposed frames and ideas appeared to be more contested by academics in the Natural Sciences, where people at all levels were more critical.


This event is free to attend with no need to book in advance. Please feel free to invite your friends, colleagues and classmates along.

Speaker bio

Mariannunziata Liguori is a Professor of Management Accounting at Queen's University Belfast, where she moved after a visiting period at the University of Alberta in Canada.

She was awarded a PhD, investigating organisational dynamics of accounting change in the public sector, by Bocconi University, Milan, where she had previously worked.

Mariannunziata is Secretary of the British Accounting and Finance Association's Public Services and Charities Special Interest Group and a member of the Editorial Board of Financial Accountability and Management and the Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management.

She has published in a number of journals in the field.