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Exploring the roles of performance measurement systems in strategy implementation: The case of a highly diversified group of firms

Pietro Micheli (Centre for Business Performance, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield, UK)
Matteo Mura (Department of Management, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy)
Marco Agliati (Department of Accounting, Università L. Bocconi, Milan, Italy)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 20 September 2011




The purpose of this paper is to explore the links between strategy implementation, performance measurement and strategic alignment within a highly diversified group of firms.


A mix of qualitative and quantitative approaches was used, and data were gathered in two different periods. In the first phase, preliminary interviews were followed by a survey across all the firms of the group and by semi‐structured interviews in four companies. Semi‐structured interviews were conducted four years later to explore changes in both strategy and performance measurement systems (PMSs).


This research contributes to the debate on the appropriateness of introducing PMSs as formal management control mechanisms. The analysis of data led to three main findings. First, the introduction of IT systems and specific governance mechanisms alone enabled the implementation of strategy across the group only to a limited extent. Second, the lack of a comprehensive PMS appeared to have negative effects on both the formulation and implementation of strategy. Third, following a phase of substantial expansion, both strategy and measurement systems had to be changed to provide a greater sense of direction and to gather data on non‐financial aspects of the business.


This research considers the case of a group of firms, which aimed to achieve strategy implementation and alignment without introducing a comprehensive PMS. This paper provides empirical evidence of the potential limitations of such an approach, and illustrates the changes to strategy and performance measurement made by the company considered.



Micheli, P., Mura, M. and Agliati, M. (2011), "Exploring the roles of performance measurement systems in strategy implementation: The case of a highly diversified group of firms", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 31 No. 10, pp. 1115-1139.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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