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Performance indicators, motivation,and productivity: a case study in the UK’s non-profit cultural heritage sector

This research will explore performance indicators in the UK’s non-profit cultural heritage sector and investigate the factors that give performance indicators motivational power in that context. The metrics that are used to monitor performance in museums and archives are less robust than those used in the commercial sector largely because, without the unambiguous aim of profit, the desired outputs and outcomes are often poorly articulated.

In addition, stakeholders hold a range of views on the purpose of performance indicators. The research will build and expand on previous work on how to monitor productivity in the non-profit sector, including work by the Productivity Institute. There is literature on performance measurement in the non-profit cultural heritage sector specifically, but it is not extensive. In addition to filling a gap in the academic literature this research will have practical application. At a time of budgetary pressure improved knowledge of how performance indicators can be used to motivate people will help managers and strategic leaders make better use of their resources.

The findings will contribute to investment decision making and business planning processing this sector and, potentially, have application beyond the non-profit cultural heritage sector. The key research question is –What factors give performance indicators motivational power in the non-profit heritage sector? The research will be conducted over a six-month period using a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods. The cultural heritage institutions have been recruited using a snowball and convenience sampling approach.

Lead researcher Dr Sue M. Davies, University of Hertfordshire’s Business School