International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 1 June 2004


Radnor, Z. and Heap, J. (2004), "Editorial", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 53 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijppm.2004.07953daa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


This issue is dedicated to Tony Beasley (co-author of one of the papers inside). Tony sadly passed away in February 2003 after a long fight against cancer. He was Chair of the British Academy of Management Special Interest Group on Performance Management and gave much of his time, effort and thought into the subject and discipline. He received his PhD in December 2002, the result of much hard work over many years. We celebrate his dedication and passion for performance management and feel that publishing a conceptual paper on the subject is a fitting tribute.

The response to the new style and new title of the journal has been very favourable. This reflects the real interest and debate around the subjects of productivity and performance management: both are important issues for many private and public sector organisations. Papers are now coming in from a wider range of potential authors – but there is definitely room for more! We have introduced a double blind review process and hopefully this will show in the high quality of the papers that you will read in this and forthcoming editions. As editors we are always on the “look out” for reviewers as well as authors. So, if you would like to offer your services – and make a contribution to the community – please contact one of us.

Questions (too) often asked about performance management are “Why doesn’t it work?”, “Why when we’ve invested so much in a new performance management system does it still not deliver the results we expected?” and “How can we get the members of the organisation to embrace and be motivated by the performance management system?”. These types of questions are addressed in the first of the papers presented in this issue by Dr Andre de Waal who considers the subject of performance-driven behaviour. De Waal argues that much of the literature on performance management to date has been about the “system” rather than the “behaviour” and he suggests that there is a fundamental need to balance these two factors to ensure a successful performance management system. The paper is based on some initial research on performance-driven behaviour and a questionnaire developed to assess this balance within organisations.

The second paper (Senior and Swailes) moves the focus away from the organisation to the team, considering, in particular, management team performance. Through empirical analysis, Senior and Swailes evaluate management team members’ constructions of performance based on eight factors. They use a repertory grid technique to carry out the research that, they argue, is a novel application of the method. Interestingly, one of their findings suggests that performance is more than just measurable outcomes and that the team process and other factors are important. This seems to “chime” with the de Waal paper in that research into performance management is beginning to identify and consider the effect or impact of the context and behaviour.

The final “academic” paper by Professor Richard Thorpe and Dr Tony Beasley attempts to consider the discipline and research agenda as a whole. It aims to try to understand the nature of performance management as a discipline and explain how it can be located within the arena of “management” research. This journal will continue to reflect the multi-disciplinary nature of performance management, borne out by the fact that papers “in the pipeline” range from accounting through organisational behaviour, economics and operations management to strategy and beyond. The majority of writings to date have addressed “systems”, but as previously mentioned, perhaps focused mostly on application and case studies. The Thorpe and Beasley paper suggests that in the future the topic needs to move away from this applied focus to develop stronger theoretical underpinnings which themselves can be contextualised. We aim to support this strengthening and hope that this journal can act as a focal point for the various debates within performance management.

The remaining papers – those by Lawrie, Cobbold and Marshall and by Davis are presented under the “Professional practice” banner. Such papers are not double blind refereed as they do not purport to be “learned” or “academic” papers; rather they attempt to draw out lessons from a consideration of, and reflection upon, practical experience. We intend to maintain this balance as we feel it is of particular benefit in ensuring that theory and practice are considered together, as two parts of the same whole.

Zoe Radnor, John Heap