Burgess, T. and Heap, J. (2013), "Editorial", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 62 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijppm.2013.07962daa.001Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Volume 62, Issue 4.
As we write this editorial at the start of the New Year (2013) the world is still in the grip of poor economic conditions originating from the major failure of our financial system, the so-called “credit crunch”. In general the state of the global economy, and of many individual organisations world wide, is challenging as a consequence of one of the longest economic downturns in modern history. Therefore we need – more than ever – the input of practitioners and academics into the field of productivity and performance management, measurement and improvement. This means we need your input to the pages of this journal! If you want to become more involved, for example by writing papers or just help out by using your expertise to review papers written by fellow professionals, then do get in touch. We are waiting to hear from you.
In this issue we have five papers that range across a number of areas. The first paper starts from the premise that we live and work, increasingly, in a knowledge economy. However, it is not clear that the science of performance management and measurement has entirely caught up with this new context. In this paper Jääskeläinen and Laihonen tackle the challenges of dealing with performance measurement in knowledge-intensive organisations. They offer four approaches to address the different challenges and examine these approaches via three case studies in Finland. They argue that in practice the main performance measurement perspective adopted links to an organisational perspective whereas other perspectives should be cultivated such as that of the individual knowledge worker and that of the customer. It seems that in this paper the authors have been successful in establishing a strong platform for moving further into the under-developed area of performance measurement and management in knowledge-intensive organisations. If this interests you, then you might want to note that we have an upcoming special issue on performance management and knowledge workers.
It is clear that many organisations use two or more performance management systems. What is not so clear is what research, if any, has been conducted in to how such systems might complement or be detrimental to one another; since many studies focus on a single system. In the second paper Srimai, Wright and Radford examine some of the issues that flow from this multiple use of performance management systems. They select four widely used performance management systems and carry out an analysis to identify the extent of overlapping functions between these systems. Their analysis flags up the substantial overlap between systems; and surfaces the challenges to practice and research of managing such overlaps. By illuminating this complexity of practice the authors are opening up new terrain for research and moving beyond some of the simpler and well-travelled research topics in our domain.
Jagoda, Lonseth and Lonseth argue in the third paper that too much emphasis has been placed on top-down approaches to measuring and improving organisational productivity leading to the situation that substantial opportunities for improvement are waiting to be harvested via bottom-up approaches. They use a multiple case strategy to report on applications of a model that emphasises more a bottom-up approach for productivity improvement. The authors focus on cases of manufacturing companies in Canada and draw some useful insights in to the significant contributions that front-line employees can make to productivity improvement when suitably involved and empowered. Using this model to investigate service companies would be an interesting next step to see developed.
The fourth paper focuses on a similar topic to that of the second paper in this issue (by Srimai et al.) in that it deals with overlaps between systems. Parker, Verlinden, Nussey, Ford and Pathak focus on the significant overlap between project management and change management and address the question “would the integration of project-based management techniques and change management concepts benefit interventions to improve organisation performance?” They arrive at the conclusion that the benefits of bringing the two together may outweigh any limitations but empirical research is required to establish the best ways of integrating these two areas.
In the final paper Professor Halachmi presents an analysis of an unfolding new approach to the strategic management of schools in the USA, the charter school initiative. He argues that the approach offers the potential for enhanced productivity and improvements in various other performance characteristics such as responsiveness, service quality and resource utilisation. The paper places charter schools within the context of public-private partnerships (PPP) by reviewing the historical development of both. As the author concedes, the relative newness of the charter school concept means that we have to rely on the literature and early reports of progress so far to test the success or otherwise of the concept – empirical studies are somewhat limited. It seems surprising to your editors that the topic of privatisation and its various extensions such as PPP do not feature more in these pages given the continuing debate about how such initiatives can affect productivity and other performance dimensions.
Tom Burgess and John Heap