Higher Education

, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 79–95 | Cite as

The perceived impact of external evaluation: the system, organisation and individual levels—Estonian case

  • Riin Seema
  • Maiki Udam
  • Heli Mattisen
  • Liia Lauri


The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of how the employees of higher education institutions perceive the impact of external evaluations. The study was conducted using the concurrent mixed method and involved 361 employees from Estonian universities and professional higher education institutions. The results indicated that evaluation is mostly deemed necessary at the levels of the organisation and the system; from the personal viewpoint of an employee, positive effects of external evaluations are perceived to a lesser degree. The negative influences mentioned were increased bureaucracy, extra work and stress. Top managers of institutions most often saw the positive influences from external evaluations since they help to implement reorganisations and development activities within an organisation. Managers perceived the positive effects of external evaluations on their everyday work as well, more than other employees did. Researchers felt the positive effects of external evaluations least. Nearly a quarter of all employees of higher education institutions do not perceive the effects of external evaluations on their everyday work at all. Employees of professional higher education institutions perceive the positive effects of external evaluations to a greater extent than employees of universities do, indicating that external evaluation has contributed to the development of their organisations. The differences in opinions of the employees of higher education institutions regarding perceived positive and negative impacts of external evaluations—whether on individual, organisation or system points of view—indicate that employees do not identify closely enough with the organisation and its strategic goals.


Employees of higher education institutions Attitudes Perceived impact of external evaluation Universities Professional higher education institutions Concurrent mixed method 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Riin Seema
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maiki Udam
    • 1
  • Heli Mattisen
    • 1
  • Liia Lauri
    • 1
  1. 1.Estonian Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education (EKKA)TallinnEstonia
  2. 2.School of Educational SciencesTallinn UniversityTallinnEstonia

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