Governing boards and perceived performance of secondary schools: Preliminary evidence from a developing country
International Journal of Public Sector Management
Department of Accounting, Makerere University Business School, Kampala, Uganda; Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, United Kingdom; Makerere University Business School, Kampala, Uganda
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report the results of a study carried out to determine the effect of governing boards on the performance of Ugandan secondary schools. Specifically, the study investigated whether governing boards (board role performance, finance committee role performance, board size, frequency of board meetings and board finance expertise) have an effect on the perceived performance of the schools. Design/methodology/approach – This study is cross-sectional and correlational. Data were collected through a questionnaire survey of 271 schools out of which 200 responded. The data were analysed through ordinary least squares regression using Statistical Package for Social Scientists. Findings – The results suggest that board role performance, finance committee role performance, frequency of meetings and finance expertise of governing boards have a significant effect on the schools’ performance. Research limitations/implications – The authors measure some of the variables qualitatively and perceptively contrary to, for instance, the commonly used quantitative measures of performance, but process factors which are inherently qualitative in nature can better explain variances in secondary schools’ performance. Thus, in this study, the authors do not claim highly refined measurement concepts. More research is therefore needed to better refine qualitative concepts used in this study. The results too suggest that board and finance committee role performance and finance expertise of the board are more important for performance of a school than board size, and frequency of meetings which academics have been focusing on. These findings call for more research to validate the posited relationships. Practical implications – The results are important for governing board policy development; for example, in terms of prescribing the qualifications for schools’ governing board members and also finance committee board members. Originality/value – This study shows that one way to capture the influence of all governing boards’ roles including service role is to adopt a perception-based approach which asks respondents to what extent they think governing boards fulfil all their roles. Unlike previous studies which used proxies for board role performance such as proportion of non-executive directors and board size for monitoring and control and resource provision, the study incorporates proxies as well as perception-based measures of board role performance to determine if governing boards have a significant influence on the performance of Uganda secondary schools. © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited.