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Enabling performance measurement in a small professional service firm

Bianca A.C. Groen (Amsterdam Business School, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Mirthe van de Belt (Purchasing Department, Eureko/Achmea, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Celeste P.M. Wilderom (Department of Business Administration, School of Management and Governance, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 26 October 2012




The purpose of this paper is to show why developing an enabling performance measurement system (PMS) can be useful to small professional service firms (PSFs) and how small PSFs can develop such an enabling PMS.


The authors used a process‐consultation type of action research design; they developed an enabling PMS in close cooperation with the employees of a small PSF. The effects of this intervention were assessed by means of document analysis, participant observation, and individual/group interviews.


The enabling PMS development process helped the firm deal with three challenges common to small PSFs: it increased employees’ understanding about how to apply the firm's strategy; it led to greater knowledge exchange among employees; and it enabled them to create new knowledge.

Research implications/limitations

The research results suggest the type of intervention used for developing an enabling PMS – that has already been shown to be effective in large firms – may also be useful for small PSFs. Similarities and differences with the intervention in large firms are discussed.

Practical implications

Small PSFs may benefit from the approach described herein: to develop a PMS in a participatory manner. It is especially useful if interested in better alignment of operations with strategy and/or to better explicate tacit and create new firm‐relevant knowledge.


This is the first paper about developing an enabling PMS in a small PSF.



Groen, B.A.C., van de Belt, M. and Wilderom, C.P.M. (2012), "Enabling performance measurement in a small professional service firm", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 61 No. 8, pp. 839-862.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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