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The balanced scorecard and intangible assets: similar ideas, unaligned concepts

Bernard Marr (Research Fellow in the Centre for Business Performance at Cranfield School of Management and a Visiting Professor at the University of Basilicata, Italy. Prior to joining Cranfield he held a research position at the Judge Institute of Management Studies at Cambridge University. Tel: (44) 01234 751122, E‐mail:
Chris Adams (Visiting Fellow at Cranfield’s Centre for Business Performance and Principal of Business Performance Insights. Until 2001 he worked at Accenture and led the firm’s “Managing with Measures” thought leadership development initiative. He is co‐author of The Performance Prism (Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2002).)

Measuring Business Excellence

ISSN: 1368-3047

Article publication date: 1 September 2004



With their most recent publications on the balanced scorecard, Kaplan and Norton have focused on the learning and growth perspective in an attempt to clarify its constituent parts, as they acknowledge that many organizations struggle with what to include in this perspective. For that reason Kaplan and Norton introduce the concept of intangible assets as the content of the learning and growth perspective. They classify intangible assets into human capital, information capital, and organization capital. However, it is believed that this latest attempt to evolve the balanced scorecard might have an adverse effect. This article outlines how Kaplan and Norton failed to acknowledge the large body of literature on intangible assets and, therefore, produced an inconsistent, incomplete, and potentially very confusing classification of intangible assets.



Marr, B. and Adams, C. (2004), "The balanced scorecard and intangible assets: similar ideas, unaligned concepts", Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 18-27.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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