Strategic uncertainty from emerging threats and opportunities in the business environment can significantly impact managers’ abilities to successfully implement their business strategy. A key strategic control and governance mechanism designed to enable managers to respond to strategic uncertainty is a strategic performance measurement system, such as the balanced scorecard (BSC). This study aims to investigate whether strategic uncertainty is associated with the diversity and types of performance measures in a BSC, which are used by managers for various strategic control and governance purposes.
A survey of senior-level managers within strategic business units of Australian Stock Exchange listed organizations was conducted.
This study finds that the extent to which managers face strategic uncertainty is positively associated with performance measurement diversity. Further, managers faced with greater strategic uncertainty use performance measures relatively more to evaluate subordinates’ performance, communicate business strategy, track performance against targets, identify problem areas and guide future directions. Outcome measures are used to a greater extent for all five purposes, whereas leading measures are used more only for future-oriented purposes.
Strategic performance measurement systems, such as the BSC, can and are being used to provide managers with the information and control mechanisms necessary to meet the challenges associated with strategic uncertainty.
This study provides the first evidence on the relations between strategic uncertainty, performance measurement diversity and managers’ use of performance measures for five key purposes. Understanding these relations is important, as managers need to formulate appropriate responses to strategic uncertainty, to protect and create value by exploiting emerging opportunities and managing associated threats.
Cheng, M. and Humphreys, K. (2016), "Managing strategic uncertainty: The diversity and use of performance measures in the balanced scorecard", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 31 No. 4/5, pp. 512-534. https://doi.org/10.1108/MAJ-12-2015-1286Download as .RIS
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