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The Measurement, Evaluation and Publication of Performance In Higher Education: An Analysis of the CHE Research Ranking of Business Schools in Germany from an Accounting Perspective

Author: MARCEL CLERMONT and ALEXANDER DIRKSEN
Published in PAQ, Vol. 40 No. 2

Universities do not tend to systematically record their own benefits, leaving it to independent institutions to summarize and publish in the form of ratings and rankings information that such institutions have acquired by themselves. In Germany, for the academic discipline of Business Administration, the Centre for Higher Education (CHE) is the major publisher of such rankings. The challenges in the context of performance measurement and evaluation on the one hand as well as the publication of achieved performance (in terms of benchmarking) on the other hand show considerable analogies to those of managerial cost and activity accounting as well as external financial reporting. Since an analysis of CHE?s potential compliance with the relevant accounting principles has not yet been undertaken, the objective of this paper is to systematically and critically analyze from an accounting perspective the method by which CHE actually evaluates research performance of business schools in Germany. Accordingly, we will demonstrate that standard accounting principles, such as completeness ? which is an integral requirement of faithful representation ? or consistency, are not continuously satisfied. Moreover, classifications of research cost objects, that are made within the meaning of cost and activity accounting, are not unequivocal and can, under certain circumstances, result in creating misguided incentives for the participating business schools.

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