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Process ownership, process performance measurement and firm performance

Markus Kohlbacher (University of Applied Sciences, Graz, Austria)
Stefan Gruenwald (University of Applied Sciences, Graz, Austria)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 20 September 2011




The purpose of this paper is to explore empirically the interaction effect of process performance measurement and the process owner role on organizational performance.


Using a sample of Austrian manufacturing companies, the paper uses multivariate data analysis techniques to test the joint effect of process performance measurement and process ownership on firm performance.


The empirical evidence indicates that implementing process performance measurement or the process owner role only is insufficient to achieve high performance. Organizations must implement both concepts – process performance measurement and the process owner role – to reap the fruits of process management.

Research limitations/implications

Several research limitations apply. First, the sample only included Austrian manufacturing firms. The generalizability of the findings to other industries or other countries is open to scrutiny. Second, only one interview per firm was conducted. Interviewing several managers per firm would have led to even higher data quality. A third important limitation of this work is the small number of cases in the regression models. Such a small number of cases are not appropriate for a clear demonstration of empirical effects. Fourth, this work relies on survey data, which leaves open the possibility of self‐serving bias in the data.

Practical implications

The promise of process management is to help firms gain competitive advantage, and, as such, managers facing organizational problems may adopt process management practices as a response to these problems. But managers must fully understand the concept of process management to ensure these practices are used in the appropriate contexts. Managers must understand the multidimensional nature of process orientation and the importance of its key dimensions. The empirical evidence of the study suggests that managers should put their effort into establishing process owners as well as process performance measurement as both process management concepts are needed in order to achieve firm performance improvements.


While the importance of process management has often been highlighted, much more remains to be understood about the performance impact of specific process management practices. This paper focuses on the process owner role and process performance measurement – as empirical studies investigating the interaction effect of these two practices have been remarkably limited to date.



Kohlbacher, M. and Gruenwald, S. (2011), "Process ownership, process performance measurement and firm performance", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 60 No. 7, pp. 709-720.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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