Burgess, T. and Heap, J. (2012), "Editorial", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 61 No. 5. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijppm.2012.07961eaa.001Download as .RIS
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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Volume 61, Issue 5
Welcome to the 5th issue of the 61st volume of the IJPPM. As usual, the issue contains six papers. In the first paper MacBryde et al. present a case study of Babcock Marine, a service provider to the UK Ministry of Defence, which shows how they are using performance measurement systems to drive organisational transformation. The required change is to facilitate a new contractual and financial relationship between the public and private sector partners. In particular they use the balanced score card (BSC) and the case study demonstrates how it is a useful tool to guide and communicate the pace of change. They also indicate the areas in which care must be taken to ensure that the use of the BSC is successful. This is an interesting case study in that it demonstrates the successful collaboration between academia and industry, something that we could do with more of.
Anderson and Klaassen in the second paper, examine performance management in the public sector and take account of the impact of new public management thinking. They examine different forms of performance management such as focusing control on the input, process and output elements of the managed system. Many commentators assert that the appropriate form of performance management depends on the context, but in their research they show that emphasising output management is the most appropriate form to use irrespective of context. They examine two difference contexts in a spread of case studies in Dutch municipalities: processing of building applications and developing environmental policy papers. In effect the context has no impact in what is the most effective form of performance control to implement. Comfortingly their paper shows that delegating detailed control of the system to the local management appears to result in better performance than if central, HQ management tries to exert detailed control of the local processes.
In the third paper, Barnes and Hinton use innovation adoption theories to reconsider the gap between performance management practice and theory for e-business. They contend that current research into performance management in e-business throws up the paradoxical situation that the major change to operations arising from adopting e-business is expected to stimulate major modifications to performance management systems, which do not seem to be observed. Although the dominant paradigm in the literature is one of normative best practice; in practice companies do not follow this path, i.e. they do not respond to major change by a systematic, radical redesign of their performance management systems. Instead they appear to proceed in an incremental, ad hoc way. In the authors’ view, existing theorising and research does not recognise the importance of influences in the operating environment of the e-business; influences that need to be incorporated into a more sophisticated perspective. In their view the technological complexity of e-business exposes the need for a broader theoretical approach to performance management and that innovation adoption frameworks provide a suitable and better alternative to the predominant paradigm.
Gopal and Thakkar, in their paper, review articles that represent the literature on supply chain performance measurement systems. From their initial set of 270 articles obtained by searching Scopus and ISI Web of knowledge, they converge on a more-focused set of 28 articles. They review these articles against various criteria and identify a set of issues that point to relevant research questions. They conclude that there is still a lot to do in getting to grips with this area despite the considerable work done in recent years. They demonstrate this by generating, through their listing of issues and research questions, what appears to be a good starting point for a researcher looking to make an impact in this area.
The fifth, and final academic, paper reports on a study to identify what Thai managers involved in the design of performance measurement systems perceive are the attributes of a successful system. Rompho and Boon-itt interviewed 85 managers and then followed this up with a questionnaire survey that received 269 valid responses (a response rate of 14.7 percent). The authors attribute success in PMS to two different aspects, design success and implementation success. They use structural equation modelling to successfully fit a confirmatory factor analysis model to the data. The study is useful in concentrating on designers of PMS since much of the prior literature focuses on users; but therein lies a question: to what extent do designers take into account user needs?
In the reflective practice paper, Tuttle and Shengchang Chen, the Secretary General of the China Association of Productivity Science, present a profile of Dr Lu Dezhi, the founder and leader of one of China’s largest private charity foundations, the Huamin Charity Foundation. The profile is based on an interview between the authors and Dr Lu, but is supplemented by information from other sources. Dr Lu is clearly a remarkable individual who, after a successful career in business, is striving to put something back in to society. This challenge for the individual represents in microcosm the challenge for global society; namely how to create a sustainable society in today’s environment of climate change and resource depletion. The authors offer a compelling, thought-provoking article that connects the life and work of Dr Lu with the major challenge for the globe today, that of how we can simultaneously achieve progress in productivity across social, economic and environmental realms.
Tom Burgess, John Heap