Measuring Business Excellence

ISSN: 1368-3047

Article publication date: 1 December 2004



(2004), "Editorial", Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 8 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/mbe.2004.26708daa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Performance measurement is a wide ranging subject cutting across many organizational and geographical boundaries. This is reflected in this issue which covers subjects as diverse as measuring corporate governance, customer service measurement, evaluating the performance of industries, benchmarking performance measurement, the role of culture in performance and marketing measurement (or the lack of it).

We start with two papers on the measurement of corporate governance. Given the debacle in the USA with Enron and Worldcom and the more recent problems in Europe with Shell's oil reserve reporting, this subject continues to be high up the measurement agenda. Legislation from the USA will impact companies quoted there. In the UK, for all financial years starting on or after 1 January 2005, there will be the additional requirement of an operating and financial review (OFR), so the need for transparency in reporting will continue to be an issue for some time to come. A note is included on current proposals for OFRs after the papers in this issue. We therefore start with a paper by Gillian Lees of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, who proposes a new strategic scorecard that balances the external reporting need for oversight with the internal need to communicate direction and drive business performance. This issue is taken up by John Wilkes of SAS Institute who emphasizes the role performance measurement plays in external reporting and internal management, citing studies which suggest that good governance is reflected in the share price.

Next, Joachim Bauer, Stephen Tanner and Andy Neely describe a benchmarking study undertaken in the UK, where a group of companies came together to look for best practice in this field, and then went on to develop an audit template for assessing performance measurement systems.

Performance measurement is as much about context as systems, and our next paper by Gene Smith emphasizes this through an evaluation of the corporate culture of Southwest Airlines. Southwest has performed exceptionally well over the years in a difficult market, and the paper investigates the role of quality and the embedded culture in this sustained superior level performance.

This is then followed by a paper on the business excellence of industrial groups in Oman by Dr Ramakrishnan Ramanathan, Assistant Professor at the College of Commerce and Economics, Sultan Qaboos University. His study uses data envelop analysis (DEA) to compare industry competitiveness. DEA is a technique becoming widely used in productivity and competitiveness studies especially across the public sector.

The next two papers focus on customer service. The first is by Christopher Ryder Jones of Gulf Bank in Kuwait, who describes the bank's approach to developing a service scorecard through determining the drivers of customer satisfaction. The paper explains how the scorecard was developed and then used to drive service improvement as well as the impact it had on firm performance. The second is by Bernard Marr and Stephen Parry who describe Fujitsu's approach to call center performance measurement and management. Fujitsu have adopted an innovative approach, which focuses on the elimination of needless work, giving benefit to the call center users and the customers for whom they provide the service.

Performance measurement is becoming increasingly used in the customer service arena, but much less so in marketing. Our final paper in this issue is from Diana Woodburn, Director of the Return on Marketing Investment Club at Cranfield School of Management, who argues for better measurement of marketing and makes some suggestions as to how this might be done.

The evolution of Measuring Business Excellence

Measuring Business Excellence has been evolving over the last year, and the journal will continue to evolve as we change our focus towards providing insights and knowledge for practice. In future editions we will be dividing the journal into the following sections:

  • Insight from research, reporting latest research findings that have implications for practice.

  • Insight from practice, reporting case studies, best practice examples and reflections from practice.

  • Focus on …  , which each issue will provide insights and comments in a shorter and digestible form on current performance measurement issues which are the focus of attention for that issue.

  • News, publications and reviews.

In this issue we are starting to move towards the new format by including a brief note on OFRs (operating and financial reviews), a development which will impact on UK quoted companies very shortly, and in future issues we will greatly extend this practice.

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