Performance measurement patterns in service companies

Kertu Lääts (Department of Accounting, School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia)
Toomas Haldma (Department of Accounting, School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia)
Klaus Moeller (Institute of Accounting, Control and Auditing, University of St Gallen, Gallen, Switzerland)

Baltic Journal of Management

ISSN: 1746-5265

Publication date: 13 September 2011



The purpose of this paper is to explore the dynamics of the usage of performance measurement (PM) methods and indicators, and this usage's influencing factors in service companies.


The study is based on the contingency theory framework and focuses on PM patterns. The sector, company size, and market environment dynamics, which are these patterns' primary determinants, are analysed. The study uses empirical survey data gathered from the 61 largest companies in Estonia. The study has a dynamic focus, explaining the changes in PM practices as in 2004 and 2007.


The research shows the increasing use of more balanced PM tools combining financial and non‐financial, market‐related and internal process dimensions. Nevertheless, the findings demonstrate that the companies predominantly used traditional cost accounting and reporting methods, as well as financial indicators for their PM. The findings highlight the similarities and differences between the PM patterns in service companies and manufacturing companies.

Research limitations/implications

The general limitations of survey‐based research have to be considered. The findings on the PM indicators and methods explain the usage's intensity, but not the effects of this usage on the performance. The study also analyses only a limited number of drivers that influence PM practices.


The research findings have two main implications. First, the paper contributes to the scarce knowledge about PM practices in service companies. Second, the paper considers the changes in PM patterns, concentrating on the dynamics of PM practices.



Lääts, K., Haldma, T. and Moeller, K. (2011), "Performance measurement patterns in service companies", Baltic Journal of Management, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 357-377.

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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