'You don't fatten a pig by weighing it', one of my colleagues remarked while we were meeting to discuss how to improve research performance by monitoring indices, accumulating statistics and holding more meetings in the future to do the same.
While it has a germ of truth, this cliche is literally wrong since you can fatten a pig by weighing it. Just design an incentive contract that rewards the agent who cares for the pig, and weigh the pig to verify that the agent has done his or her job. But the cliche points to the transaction costs of planning and carrying that could be diverted into time spent doing research.
Most working in universities accept managerial transactions costs but question whether they have become excessive. Most that I encounter - whether they are research stars or teachers or administrators - work hard. Of course the image in the community is the opposite - but it is a largely false image.
Schemes to promote research that involve rewards and penalties in a situation where there isn't any slack can create deadweight losses in the whole system. They waste time that could be devoted to productive activities. They waste resources in an overstretched system.
This is a winge but I have spent a lot of recent past at meetings - I could have done better things. Preparing my Nobel Prize Acceptance email (not a lot of work - just 'yes') or blogging. Or yes, doing some serious research rather than thinking of ways to get others to do it.