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Performance measurement adoption and business performance: An exploratory study in the shipping industry

Nikolaos Otheitis (Technical Department, Ionia Management S.A., Nikaia, Greece)
Martin Kunc (Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 9 February 2015




Seaborne trade accounts for 90 per cent of world’s total trade activity. Ship management is a highly skilled discipline with a high degree of complexity yet it has failed to follow with the same pace the advancements of performance measurement systems (PMSs) like other industries. Business performance measurement has only recently become a relevant topic in shipping. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the adoption of PMS in the shipping industry.


A questionnaire was developed based on the performance measurement literature and submitted to 100 shipping companies around the world obtaining 41 usable questionnaires covering 13 countries from Europe, Asia and America.


The adoption of performance measurement differs based on type of business: liquid bulk (tanker) vessels and bulk carriers or containers. Quality and safety management systems have fostered the adoption of performance measurement positively in tankers impacting decision making and the performance of shipping companies using PMS.

Research limitations/implications

While the sample is representative of the situation of the industry, it represents the results of one point in time.

Practical implications

The use of PMSs can be a tool to achieve superior performance but it may be fostered by, and has to be aligned with the needs of, internal and external stakeholders. Early adopters in the shipping industry are among the leaders in the industry.


The paper is a unique contribution to performance measurement since it explores the adoption of PMSs and its impact in performance at industry level in a global industry.



Otheitis, N. and Kunc, M. (2015), "Performance measurement adoption and business performance: An exploratory study in the shipping industry", Management Decision, Vol. 53 No. 1, pp. 139-159.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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