Radnor, Z. and Heap, J. (2007), "Editorial", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 56 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijppm.2007.07956aaa.001Download as .RIS
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New year … new volume … and a few changes in this issue as we practise our own version of continual improvement. We have re-named the practitioner section to embrace more reflective writings from the “field” and to cover policy issues, viewpoints and even, perhaps, the occasional rant. The journal overall is going from strength to strength reflected in both quantitative and qualitative measures! The quality of papers being submitted is rising (we hope you agree!) and the number of web accesses and downloads is increasing (according to the Emerald database). This puts us in a healthy position in the Emerald journal league table. We also had a fantastic response to a recent call for reviewers, with over 500 responses – a sign of a thriving and engaged community. We thank you for your continuing and growing interest in the journal.
Some thoughts …
Does the law of diminishing returns apply to downsizing? Well, we’ve observed a few downsizing projects recently, some of which simply seem to end up with expensive staff performing relatively mundane tasks. Now this might not be a problem if the staff involved, have the time available … but experience suggests that this is rarely the case. Those people have to work longer hours and, in effect, pay the price for what might be improved shareholder return … but, then, no-one said that life was going to be fair!
One of us (you can try and guess which of the two co-editors) is a bit of a technology freak … and owns an iPod, Sat-Nav, PDA and HDTV, uses Flickr, del.icio.us and Skype and, of course, is permanently poor. Does this use of technology make our co-editor more productive and higher performing? If so, is this because of the inherent benefits of technology or because those who enjoy playing with their toys and incorporate them into their working practices work better because they are having fun?
Reference above to “social networking” websites such as MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, del.icio.us (and many more) set us thinking about search mechanisms. When we want to identify useful resources, we have so far tended to rely on “metadata” – we look in catalogues, indexes, databases. Now we are as likely to ask our contact list, look at others’ recommendations and use “social search” processes. If we do this with “trusted” contacts, the results are very good. Does this signal the death of cataloguers and librarians … or will their work simply evolve, and be informed by these new phenomena?
This issue …
All the academic papers in this issue, are concerned with the development and use of performance measurement systems. Each paper though, examines “the system” within different contexts. The first paper, by Kollberg et al., considers two topics within the public sector which have been receiving a lot of attention recently – performance measurement and “lean” (the reduction of waste and development of flow within processes). Through their research they have developed a “flow model” which makes it possible to follow a patient’s path through the healthcare system by capturing measures to assess a certain date or time in the patient care chain. They claim that the model aims to support reducing long waiting times and delays by identifying bottlenecks and improvement potential in the patient flow process.
The second paper, by Thakkar et al., focuses on one of the most written-about performance measurement models – the Balanced Scorecard. This paper, similar to the first, also presents ideas on how to develop and enhance a model or tool to make it of real practical benefit within organisations. They propose the use of other techniques, both modelling and process analysis, in order to develop a performance measurement system, which hopefully is meaningful and workable within companies.
The final academic paper by Cheng et al., presents findings relating to the implementation of a new performance measurement system designed to support the improvement of project management within the construction industry. The paper identifies both barriers and facilitators that should be considered if performance management systems are to be successfully implemented, suggesting also that the lessons are relevant to other organisations and situations.
Just to show that the changes referred to above are being carried out in practice, we want to draw your attention to the paper from Ceri Watkins which is a good example of the kind of thing we are hoping to see from time to time in the journal. This is a piece which takes a different – and personal – look at the issue of performance indicators and measures, using a novel form of analysis to draw out practical lessons.
Final thought …
Does anyone know how many ballpoint pens are produced globally each year? It must be many, many millions, presumably from factories in many countries, feeding distribution centres in more countries, sold by lots of salesmen and … yet neither of us has ever met anyone connected with the ball-point pen industry. Are they a very secretive lot?
Zoe Radnor, John Heap