Radnor, Z. and Heap, J. (2006), "Editorial", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 55 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijppm.2006.07955aaa.001Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Another year brings another volume. Interest in productivity and performance management is still growing! Even with the many unintended consequences that measurement and target setting brings we still do not seem to be able to live without it – why is that? Have we become, or are we becoming, a society that needs targets and rewards to operate? Have the sense of self-fulfilment and the innate recognition of what is good disappeared? Are we now relying on performance measurement or management systems to inform us of what is right or wrong? While you reflect on the possible answers to these questions consider the following examples:
Workers who used the Internet for non-work-related tasks cost their employers a whopping $178 billion last year in lost productivity, according to a new study sponsored by Websense Inc., a company that sells software to monitor employee Internet use. They would say that, wouldn’t they? It is clear that many employees use the web for private use – but whether this is counter-productive is harder to assess. Productivity is not just a numbers game … It depends on attitude and engagement and lots of other “soft” factors. Perhaps employers who take a reasoned approach to such issues and allow private web-use where it is regarded as not excessive, create an atmosphere in which employees feel valued. How much is that worth?
Have you noticed that “death by PowerPoint” seems to be on the wane. More people are using PowerPoint creatively and imaginatively – going beyond the regulatory flying bullets. Is this simply the evolution of the “language” or is someone somewhere making a lot of money out of advanced PowerPoint courses? Of course, a second issue is the amount of resource going into these improved presentations. Perhaps we should create a “lost time due to PowerPoint” index and measure companies and even nations against each other.
The first academic paper in this issue by Busi and Bititci considers some of the gaps and possible future research directions related to collaborative performance management. The authors argue that effective performance systems have yet to be developed for managing performance in collaborative enterprises but that in order to do so the nature of collaboration and what it means needs to be understood first. The second academic paper, by de Waal and Gerritsen-Medema, focuses on the performance management system in a Dutch municipality. The paper builds on a paper published in Volume 54, Number 4 and shows how the performance management analysis tool described in that first paper can be applied and used by an organisation in order to develop an activity plan to help drive improvement. The final academic paper by Eskildsen and Kristensen moves the focus to job satisfaction by developing a new typology for job satisfaction relating it to the importance/performance map – a popular tool used to assess the situation of an organisation in relation to its competitors and customers. The authors suggest that a new importance/performance map needs to be developed which is better informed by the way in which job satisfaction surveys are conducted and interpreted.
The two practitioner papers (by Henriksen, Andersen and Aarseth, and Chen and Liaw) both take a swipe at the various management fads and fancies that come into – and go out of – fashion. In different ways, they both make a stand for a move to serious thinking about performance and productivity rather than relying on these “off-the-shelf” approaches. Interestingly, the second of these papers produces a non-intuitive result from some empirical research, suggesting that effective production management and high productivity are only partially correlated.
We, as co-editors, scan the globe for interesting views on performance and productivity! Occasionally we spot things that might only be of tangential (direct) relevance but “chime” in some way. For example, recently reading the website of LaGuardia Community College in New York (yes, that may be a bit sad!) we noticed that they describe their use of e-portfolios to help students. E-portfolios can have massive potential both within and outside of formal educational processes. They can also be of major benefit in, for example, employee appraisal processes. However, what was really striking was the “strapline” – a very useful and succinct summary of the power of an e-portfolio to allow students to … “collect, select, reflect & connect.” If that sounds like gibberish, take a look at: www.eportfolio.lagcc.cuny.edu/.
If this editorial sounds abnormally disjointed or stressed, it’s because one of the two co-editors has just moved offices. I know that you expect a co-editor of a journal about productivity and performance to have such an exercise planned, prepared and executed with military precision and it was … almost. Unfortunately, I was away (in the US) during the actual move – and was not there to marshal and organise. The preparation could not defeat seemingly wilful disregard for instruction and guidance and my possessions seem to have been widely distributed amongst a variety of offices. Much of my time recently has therefore been spent reclaiming these lost possessions and of course I can’t rest until I find my miniature nine inch pool table that I use to alleviate the stress induced by approaching journal deadlines. I know it might be more fruitful to work on the tasks that have the deadlines but miniature pool is so much more fun.
Zoe Radnor, John Heap