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The balanced scorecard’s missing link to compensation: A literature review and an agenda for future research

Oana Alexandra Albertsen (Department of Economics and Business, School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)
Rainer Lueg (Department of Economics and Business, School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change

ISSN: 1832-5912

Article publication date: 28 October 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review the literature on the balanced scorecard (BSC) system. The BSC may well be one of the most popular performance measurement systems, but this is not synonymous with successful. The inventors of the BSC, Kaplan and Norton, actually emphasize that a BSC can only really impact the organizational performance if it is linked to the actors’ intrinsic and extrinsic incentives. As BSC has existed for more than 20 years, the authors find it relevant to survey the extant literature which elaborates on the BSC-incentives link within organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper identifies 117 empirical studies from leading academic journals published between 1992 and 2012 and then assesses 30 of these studies, which present the BSC-compensation link within the BSC literature. The authors analyze both research design (authors’ perspective) and the actual findings in the field (organizations’ perspective).

Findings

First, it was found that only 30 of 117 empirical studies have a research design that is comprehensive enough to capture a full BSC as suggested by Kaplan and Norton, and only six of these studies elaborate on the link between the BSC and compensation. Second, extant research lacks valid constructs for the BSC and focuses too much on planning (ex-ante) with the BSC and not sufficiently on evaluation and control (ex-post). Third, the authors demonstrate that empirical BSC literature relies very strongly on field research in small and medium enterprises compared to similar research. Overall, the authors claim that the “relevance” of the BSC remains unproven.

Originality/value

The authors synthesize the empirical BSC literature and derive a future research agenda.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors appreciate the helpful comments on this work by Morten Jakobsen, the editor Hanne Nørreklit and two anonymous reviewers.

Citation

Alexandra Albertsen, O. and Lueg, R. (2014), "The balanced scorecard’s missing link to compensation: A literature review and an agenda for future research", Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 431-465. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAOC-03-2013-0024

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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