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Measurement benchmarks or “real” benchmarking? An examination of current perspectives

Jeffrey W. Alstete (Hagan School of Business, Iona College, New Rochelle, New York, USA)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Article publication date: 11 April 2008




The purpose of this paper is to examine the current perceptions of company employees regarding the use and understanding of the terms “benchmark” as in performance measurement and “benchmarking” as in measurement followed by identification of best practices for improvement.


A brief review of the literature from various industries is summarized on this issue, and then related to the research question. A qualitative research study is used to examine the perceptions of 42 participants who were primarily full‐time employees at companies in the New York metropolitan area pursuing a part‐time graduate business degree.


The hypothesis is supported by the literature and the research findings that there is indeed a misunderstanding between the commonly used terms relating to performance measurement benchmarks and true benchmarking where identification of process leaders is only the first step in a complete process that then identifies best practices to be adapted.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations of the study are identified such as the size and characteristics of the study population, and suggestions are made for future research endeavors to verify the findings.

Practical implications

This paper reveals that a more precise terminological use of true benchmarking practices should be promoted and used by management leaders, educators and writers.


This is a valuable empirical research study that examines the important issue of misunderstandings and misstatements of mere performance benchmarks for comparative analysis and real benchmarking practices that identify best practices for adapting via continuous improvement.



Alstete, J.W. (2008), "Measurement benchmarks or “real” benchmarking? An examination of current perspectives", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 178-186.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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