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The advisory committee (AC) took longer than anticipated to
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The advisory committee (AC) took longer than anticipated to come up with the modified faculty appraisal and work measurement system. In the interim, there was intense speculation about the changes. Nine months later, in an internal letter, the director of NIM (CI campus) shared the new policies pertaining to recruitment, work measurement, and appraisal and promotion. The key changes in the work measurement system included: 1. Self-appraisal of the previous year’s work plan clearly identifying deviations and reasons thereof. 2. Identification of five key result areas. 3. Prescription of minimum and maximum teaching loads per academic year. 4. Minimum workload including teaching was retained at three hundred units. 5. Categorization of journals for the award of equivalent work units. 6. Equivalent work units for teaching in executive education programs articulated with greater clarity. 7. Monetary compensation for the units earned above the minimum specified was increased from INR1,200 to INR2,000 per unit. 8. Faculty members could carry forward excess units (greater than 300) to a special leave account (details of the leave policy were yet to be formulated). The new policies were to be implemented at all the operating units of NIM in India which otherwise were following a different set of processes and policies. The director and his deputy at NIM (CI campus) were pleased with the new changes, as they resulted from many policies and processes that they had proposed. However, the reaction of the faculty was mixed. While everyone welcomed the increase in the monetary compensation from INR1,200 to INR2,000, there was a major disagreement about the categorization of the journals. In the previous system, most faculty members achieved (even surpassed) the minimum required workload by teaching alone. Now the institute expected a more diversified portfolio of activities. Many wondered to what extent the new policy addressed this gap. As an economics area faculty member put it, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” SELF-APPRAISAL A salient feature of the new policy was the self-appraisal of the previous year’s work plan clearly identifying deviations and reasons thereof. Each faculty member had to submit a detailed work plan at the beginning of the year, against which the year-end achievements were to be appraised. This was essentially a process of self-appraisal, with no discussion between the faculty member and the appraisal committee. As a senior professor put it, “Feedback is a very important component of any appraisal system. There has to be a dialogue. We need to think to what extent mechanization will help us.” RESEARCH & PUBLICATION Research, publication, and case-writing were identified as one of the five key result areas in the new policy (the other four being teaching, executive education, non-academic administration, and institution-building). In the new policy circulated on January 19, 2009, the most significant change was in the equivalent work units for research and publication activity. Brushing aside a very broad categorization of journals into national refereed, international refereed, national non-refereed, and international non-refereed, the new policy had sub-categories for international and national refereed journals. (See Exhibit 1 for details.) Besides categorizing journals, the policy document also offered broad guidelines for putting a journal into an appropriate category. A national journal was defined as “a journal published in India having its circulation within the country” while an international journal was defined as “a journal published in India or abroad with 50 percent or more of the articles contributed by authors who were affiliated with institutions based outside India.” It was left to the “chairperson research” at respective NIM campuses to circulate the list of journals and their category membership. The chairperson research at NIM (CI campus) in turn asked the faculty members to suggest ways and means of categorizing journals. The following views emerged: 1. Benchmark with the foremost management institutes in India (for instance, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA). 2. Categorize based on the “impact factor” of the journal. 3. Follow the journal categorization used by popular ranking websites like . 4. Follow the categorization used by ICFAI, a business school in India that had a prolific track record of public sources-based case-writing. Its cases were mainly distributed through the ECCH (European Case Clearing House). There were some who opined that the journal rankings could be based on impact factors, ., the frequency of citation. The impact factor is a widely accepted measure of a journal’s importance in its particular domain. The impact factor can be viewed through a related value, namely the immediacy index. The immediacy index is calculated by dividing the number of times articles appearing in the past two years have been cited by the total number of articles published in that particular journal in the past two years. The impact factor has often been used to categorize, rank, and compare journals within a domain. The strongest argument against using the impact factor as the basis came from the finance area, as there was not a single finance area journal in the top 50. Journal of Finance (JF), which was perceived to be a “tough nut to crack,” was ranked 61st based on the impact factor. Other parameters like average acceptance rate, time to review, etc. were also debated. However, there were divergent views on the above. As a finance area faculty member argued, “What is good for IIMA may not be good for us. We need to recognize that our needs are different, our goals are different.” A more vocal opposition came from the dean, who said, “IIMA has a list of 27 journals as A+. Publication in any A+ journal gets a cash incentive which is equivalent to our 400 work units. We don’t want a situation where a faculty member publishes one paper and does nothing in the rest of the year.” However, a counter-argument for the dean’s argument was, “How many of us are competent at publishing in A+ journals like Journal of Marketing or Academy of Management Review? If someone manages to do so, it is certainly worth 400 units. Besides, publishing in such journals year after year is a pipe dream.” In spite of all disagreements, the dean prevailed with his argument that, “A category should not be a stretch target, which means it should not be impossible to achieve. Hence instead of 27 journals, we should expand the list to say about 100 but reduce the equivalent units significantly.” A few faculty members were very unhappy with the decision because all “online journals” were treated as “non-refereed.” This was done based on the general perception that an online journal’s review process was not as stringent as that of its offline counterparts. While the chairperson research continued his efforts to refine the membership of journals to various categories, in private conversations he had opined that, “This is a futile exercise. People who want to publish for money will always find loopholes and those who care for peer-group acceptance will publish in top-quality journals, irrespective of monetary incentives.” MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM WORKLOAD In addition to a reduction in the minimum workload in terms of units to be earned, many faculty members had also argued for a reduction in the minimum teaching load from a six-course equivalent to a three-course equivalent. This was aimed at creating a situation where any extra unit earned over the minimum should come from non-teaching. However, this was brushed aside by the director and dean saying that, “The idea of reducing the minimum workload is difficult to sell to advisory committee members.” As an HR area faculty member opined, “The new system encourages teaching more. With this, those, particularly at the associate and full professor level, need not publish.” However, the new promotion policy had clearly articulated the minimum requirements in terms of a cooling period at a particular level, a total number of years of experience to be considered for the next level, minimum average student feedback, and a minimum number of papers to be published in refereed journals. Hence, the argument was “one may earn more money by teaching courses but to move to the next level one needs to deliver in other areas too.” PROPORTIONATE POINT SYSTEM NIM being a self-financed management school largely depended on the fee revenue. Efforts aimed at diversifying revenue sources had not yet paid off. Hence students’ intake had gone up every year in the last four years of its existence. A few positions were perceived to be directly and significantly affected by the increase in the batch size like hostel warden, PGDM program chairperson, chairperson placements, etc. so faculty members holding these additional responsibilities (particularly boys’ hostel warden and chairperson placements) had argued for linking the equivalent work units to the batch size. As the warden put it, “Having handled the responsibility for a year, I know that it is easier to teach a course” (the role of the warden was considered equivalent to one single section course in terms of the units allotted for the activity). However, the status quo was maintained. LOOKING FORWARD The dean hoped that the policy was less amenable to misuse. In his own words, “Teaching is the primary responsibility and it shall remain so. We hope we have plugged in the major gaps. Let us give it a year.” However, as an ex-faculty member aware of the developments put it, “Do not expect irrational behavior from people.” With more money, there was a greater financial incentive to beat the system. Questions 1. What immediate and long-term implications do the existing system have on the institution and on the faculty? (350words) 2. Analyze the existing system with regard to its ability to achieve organizational goals, induce performance in the right direction, and provide incentives that motivate performance in the right areas (350 words) 3. Propose a framework for developing a system that encourages to perform to potential while meeting organizational objectives. Be specific and explain why you think the proposed framework would work for this institute. (350 words)
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