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Defining and measuring alignment in performance management

John D. Hanson (Supply Chain Management Institute, University of San Diego, San Diego, California, USA)
Steven A. Melnyk (Eli Broad Graduate School of Business, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Roger A. Calantone (Eli Broad Graduate School of Business, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 20 September 2011




The purpose of this paper is to develop an operational definition of alignment within the context of a performance measurement and management system in order to create a measurement model that can be used in survey‐based research, particularly under conditions of dramatic strategic change.


Data are collected using an in‐depth case study and analyzed using the methods of grounded theory development. Particular attention is given to multi‐level analysis within an organisation.


Alignment must be assessed with a multi‐dimensional model that looks beyond goals and performance. Distinctions must be made between goals and processes and between intrinsic definitions of alignment and their cultural context.

Research limitations/implications

The research was conducted within one major organisation that was undergoing a strategic shift from process efficiency to product innovation. Work by other researchers suggests that the findings may be more broadly generalisable, but further investigation remains to be done.

Practical implications

The ability to maintain alignment through a period of transition is a basis of dynamic capabilities. It is found that certain aspects of performance measurement and management must be de‐emphasised during these transitions.


By using grounded theory development, this study results in a criterion‐free measurement model of alignment that represents an operational definition of the construct.



Hanson, J.D., Melnyk, S.A. and Calantone, R.A. (2011), "Defining and measuring alignment in performance management", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 31 No. 10, pp. 1089-1114.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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