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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Accounting, Organizations and Society, Volume 30, Issue 5, July 2005, Pages 395–422
There is considerable interest in the role of strategic performance measurement systems (SPMS), such as balanced scorecards, in assisting managers develop competitive strategies. A distinctive feature of SPMS is that they are designed to present managers with financial and non-financial measures covering different perspectives which, in combination, provide a way of translating strategy into a coherent set of performance measures. There appears to be wide variation in how these systems are configured. However, as yet, there has been little consideration given to identifying underlying information characteristics that might help explain how the systems have beneficial effects. This study identifies a key dimension of SPMS, integrative information, as being instrumental in assisting managers deliver positive strategic outcomes. Three interrelated dimensions of integrative SPMS were identified in this study. The first, strategic and operational linkages, was a generic factor that captures the overall extent to which the systems provide for integration between strategy and operations, and integration across elements of the value chain. The second attribute, customer orientation, focuses on customer linkages and includes financial and customer measures. The third dimension, supplier orientation, is based on linkages to suppliers and includes business process and innovation measures. A model is developed that predicts that integrative SPMS will enhance the strategic competitiveness of organizations. It is proposed that the influence of integrative SPMS on strategic outcomes is indirect through the mediating roles of alignment of manufacturing with strategy and organizational learning. Data from a survey of 80 strategic business units provide varying support for the proposed relationships.
Increasingly, innovations in management accounting systems have sought to provide information for developing a strategic orientation to the operations of the firm (Ittner & Larcker, 2002; Kaplan, 1994; Shank & Govindarajan, 1993; Simons, 2000). One area of innovation has been performance measurement systems. There have been efforts to refine financial measures such as economic value added (Wallace, 1998). Non-financial measures have been recommended for use in manufacturing and marketing but in ways that lack integration between functional areas (Banker, Potter, & Srinivasan, 1993; Foster & Horngren, 1987; Fullerton & McWatters, 2002; Hall, 1989; MacArthur, 1996; Maskell, 1992; McKinnon & Bruns, 1992; Perera, Harrison, & Poole, 1997; Vollmann, 1990). Several authors have presented measurement schemes that are strategic in that they provide a more integrated approach relating operations to customers and corporate vision. These have included Performance Pyramids and Hierarchies (Dixon, Nanni, & Vollmann, 1990; Hronec, 1993; Lynch & Cross, 1995; McNair, Lynch, & Cross, 1990), Balanced Scorecards (BSC) (Kaplan & Norton, 1992; Kaplan & Norton, 1996; Kaplan & Norton, 2001) and the Intangible Asset Scorecard (Sveiby, 1997). A distinctive feature of these strategic performance measurement systems (SPMS) is that they are designed to present managers with financial and non-financial measures covering different perspectives which, in combination, provide a way of translating strategy into a coherent set of performance measures. The perspectives that are relevant to profit orientated companies most often include financial, customers, internal processes and long-term innovation. This system of associated measures has the potential to identify the cause-effect linkages that describe the way operations are related to the organization’s strategy. The aim is to provide a rational framework to formulate and implement strategies. Evidence on the adoption of SPMS, particularly BSC, has been mainly anecdotal with little survey work to confirm the adoption or effects on desired organizational outcomes. While there is some support for growing BSC implementation (Chenhall & Langfield-Smith, 1998; Hoque & James, 2000; Ittner & Larcker, 1998b; Silk, 1998), the characteristics or information dimensions of the systems are not examined in these studies. It seems clear that there is wide variation in the nature of SPMS, ranging from combinations of financial and non-financial measures to more comprehensive systems linking operations to various perspectives and to strategy (Hoque & James, 2000; Ittner & Larcker, 1998b; Ittner & Larcker, 2003; Ittner, Larcker, & Randell, 2003). This study aims to contribute to the body of accounting literature that examines how the underlying information dimensions of SPMS effects desired organizational outcomes by providing information on the linkages between operations and strategic outcomes and between different facets of the entire value chain. The importance of identifying measurement system attributes to the study of SPMS is noted by Ittner et al. (2003, p. 739). Examples of this body of literature include studies associating enhanced outcomes with greater measurement emphasis and diversity of performance measures (Ittner et al., 2003), competitor focused systems (Guilding, 1999), common compared to unique performance measures (Lipe & Salterio, 2000), systems linked to value chain analysis (Dekker, 2003), measures of the benefits of supplier partnerships (Seal, Cullen, Dunlop, Berry, & Ahmed, 1999), activity knowledge structures (Dearman & Shields, 2001), and performance measure precision and sensitivity (Banker & Datar, 1989). In this study, the nature of SPMS is described in terms of a key information characteristic, that of integrativeness. The characteristic of integrativeness within SPMS has two components. First, a generic aspect involving information that provides an understanding of cause-effect linkages between operations and strategy and goals, and between various aspects of the value chain including suppliers and customers (Banker, Janakiraman, Konstans, & Pizzini, 2001; Kaplan & Norton, 2001; Malina & Selto, 2001; Stivers & Joyce, 2000). Second, a measurement component concerning provision of measures in the areas of financial, customers, business processes and long-term innovation (El-Shishini, 2001; Frigo & Krumwiede, 2000; Kaplan & Norton, 1996; Malmi, 2001; Sharma, 2000). It is this dimension of integrativeness that is seen to provide managers with information that potentially assists in developing competitive strategies. There are several ways in which researchers have examined variables that are implicated in the relationship between management control systems and desired organizational outcomes. Two main approaches have been applied widely. First, researchers have considered the influences of variables such as environmental uncertainty or technology in moderating the relationship between accounting systems and outcomes. Second, studies have attempted to build structural models that help explain how accounting systems have their affects on outcomes.1 In this paper, a structural modelling approach is adopted. Structural models are appropriate when the theory sets out to explain the role of variables that intervene in the relationship between management control systems and desired outcomes (Luft & Shileds, 2003). This approach does not consider how the effects might be moderated by different contextual factors, rather it is assumed that these factors are noise within the models. As is common in evolving areas of research, theory can be developed to incorporate the influence of different aspects of context as our understanding matures. The study contributes by providing a conceptual advance in understanding the application of SPMS. This involves, first, explicating the nature of SPMS by identifying integrative information as a key dimension of the systems. Specifically, it is argued that this information characteristic of SPMS focuses on integrating business operations with strategy. It is this integrative dimension that provides SPMS with the potential to enhance an organization’s strategic competitiveness. Next, the study develops a structural model drawing on established theories related to manufacturing (Hayes & Wheelwright, 1984; Hayes, Wheelwright, & Clark, 1988; Skinner, 1969, Skinner, 1978 and Skinner, 1985; Wheelwright & Hayes, 1985) to show how integrative SPMS can align manufacturing with strategy which then enhances the organization’s competitiveness on strategic outcomes. Theories from organizational learning (Duncan & Weiss, 1979; Hedberg, 1981; Huber, 1991) indicate that integrative SPMS can provide a platform for learning which, in turn, can lead to successful strategic outcomes. The remainder of the paper is structured in four sections. The next section develops the structural model including a series of hypotheses. This is followed by sections that discuss the research method and present results. Finally, conclusions are discussed.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The study aimed to improve understanding of how contemporary SPMS can assist organizations enhance their strategic competitiveness. This was approached by clarifying that an integrative dimension of SPMS is a primary information characteristic that assists organizations to achieve strategic competitiveness by aligning manufacturing with strategy and developing organizational learning. Existing empirical research has tended to examine SPMS in terms of the extent to which multiple measures are provided (Foster & Gupta, 1994; Hoque & James, 2000; Ittner & Larcker, 1998b; Perera et al., 1997). The current study contributes by showing, empirically, that it is important to consider SPMS in terms of the extent to which they focus on the way operations integrate with goals and strategies, and on connections across the value chain. The study identified three information components that describe integrative SPMS. First, one dimension identified the extent to which formal SPMS provide information linking operations to goals and strategies, and to link activities across sub units. Second, different types of measures were linked with a customer and a supplier component of the SPMS. The customer dimension included customer measures, leading and lagging measures and financial measures. Customer measures have been associated with efforts to develop a customer orientation and consequently have a central role in linking SPMS to customers (Ittner & Larcker, 1998b, p. 220; Tuomela, 2000, pp. 106–113). Also, leading indicators have been associated with a customer perspective by way of providing key ‘value propositions’, such as customer relationships and reputation, that ensure operations will support a customer focus (Ittner & Larcker, 1998a; Kaplan & Norton, 1996). Attention to financials within a customer perspective suggests a strategic focus whereby SPMS aim to ensure that systems monitor customer profitability. This would seem to be an important aspect of effective SPMS, as results on the association between customer measures and organizations’ financial performance have been ambiguous with some studies providing support for the relationship (Anderson, Fornell, & Rust, 1997; Banker, Konstans, & Mashruuola, 2000; Banker, Potter, & Srinivasan, 2000; Ittner & Larcker, 1996), while others have found that the relationships depends on the specific measures used (Foster & Gupta, 1997) and vary depending on industry (Ittner & Larcker, 1998b). A separate supplier aspect of integrative SPMS was identified in the analysis. This factor incorporated an emphasis on linking measures with suppliers and included business process and long-term innovation measures. This dimension suggests that concern with supplier management involves incorporating suppliers into a business processes measurement perspective (Carr & Ittner, 1992). Also, the dimension suggests that supplier management provides opportunities to develop measures with a focus on long-term innovation. This would seem consistent with the growing interest in horizontal accounting with important strategic supply issues, such as outsourcing, supplier networks, supply chain management, total cost of ownership, sourcing leadership and open book accounting presenting performance measurement challenges for many organizations (Shields, 1997, p. 24; Dekker, 2003; Slack, Chambers, Harland, Harrison, & Johnston, 1998). Also, long-term innovation measures may be used as part of horizontal accounting to ensure the development of customer-focused manufacturing (Perera et al., 1997). It may be speculated that long-term innovation measures in areas such as work force capabilities, IT potential as well as measures of technical innovativeness can be linked to attempts to achieve best practices as they relate to managing networks of suppliers and internal processes, and in ways that provide a customer focus. Overall the study supports the view that the three dimensions of integrative SPMS can enhance strategic competitiveness for firms emphasising both product differentiation and low cost-price strategies. These results are consistent with arguments that performance measurement can be a strategic management tool (Dixon et al., 1990; Kaplan & Norton, 2001; Lynch & Cross, 1995). Explicitly, this study shows that performance measurement systems will improve the strategic competitiveness of organizations if they focus on how goals, strategies and operations are connected, and attempt to provide understanding of the interdependencies across the value chain. Additionally, the study provides insights into how integrative SPMS enable organizations to achieve more effective strategies by assisting in the strategic alignment of manufacturing and organizational learning. Inspection of Fig. 2 shows the effects of each dimension of integrative SPMS on the various strategic outcomes. Strategic and operational linkages has the most widespread effects within the model. First, the paths in the model indicate a full mediating effect associated with this dimension and the strategic outcome of delivery, with indirect effects acting through both alignment of manufacturing and organizational learning. Also, the association between strategic and operational linkages and low cost-price outcomes is fully mediated by a path through strategic alignment of manufacturing. The association between this dimension and competitiveness on the flexibility strategic outcome is partially mediated, acting though strategic alignment of manufacturing. The association of the customer linkage dimension of SPMS with delivery strategic outcomes is fully mediated acting through organizational learning. However, organizational learning does not intervene between customer linkages and flexibility or low cost-price strategic outcomes because of non-significant paths between organization learning and these strategic outcomes. Also, it is noteworthy that the path between SPMS customer orientation and strategic alignment of manufacturing is not significant. Clearly, while there is a positive correlation between customer orientation and manufacturing alignment (0.232, p < 0.05), within the structural model, manufacturing alignment is not enhanced by the customer linkages. It may be that a customer orientation adds little incremental information for managers to strategically align manufacturing after they consider the information provided by the dimensions of strategic and operational linkages and supplier linkages. The correlations between the supplier orientation dimension of SPMS and both delivery and flexibility strategic outcomes are fully mediated by the paths through manufacturing alignment. The correlation between the supplier dimension of SPMS and low cost-price strategy is partially mediated by the alignment path. These results attest to the important role of a supplier orientation within SPMS to developing competitiveness on all strategies, with paths through a strategic alignment of manufacturing explaining these associations. Statistical support for the association between the strategic alignment of manufacturing and all competitive outcomes confirms the belief that strategic alignment of manufacturing is an advanced form of manufacturing that provides considerable capacity to achieve strategic advantage (Bhoovaraghavan et al., 1996; Brown, 1998; Hayes & Wheelwright, 1984; Hayes et al., 1988; Skinner, 1969, Skinner, 1978 and Skinner, 1985). The significant paths between both the strategic and operational, and supplier dimensions of SPMS and the strategic alignment of manufacturing support claims in the manufacturing literature that both manufacturing systems and information systems are complementary sources of competitive strength with the information systems helping integrate all functions into an effective strategy (Hayes et al., 1988). Also, many proponents of SPMS emphasize the way in which these systems can provide the front-end justification and the focus for integrating manufacturing with overall strategic priorities (Kaplan & Norton, 1996; Kaplan & Norton, 2001; Lynch & Cross, 1995). It was argued that integrative SPMS can enhance competitive strategy by generating organizational learning. Some commentators see this as the cornerstone of a strategic management system (Kaplan & Norton, 1996, p. 269). Significant links between both strategic and operational and customer aspects of integrative SPMS and organizational learning are consistent with the view that SPMS provide a shared framework for communicating strategy and vision, a language that helps individuals see how parts of the organization fit the whole, a store of knowledge and feedback that provides input for analysing and learning from performance data (Kaplan & Norton, 1996, p. 252). The significant positive association between organizational learning and competitiveness on delivery strategic outcomes provides some support for the view of many commentators that knowledge or learning organizations, intellectual capital and knowledge intensity are major sources of competitive advantage (Edvinsson & Malone, 1997; Garvin, 1993; Senge, 1990; Starbuck, 1992; Tenkasi & Boland, 1996). In the structural model, organizational learning is not significantly associated with the strategic outcomes related to flexibility and low cost-price. It is, perhaps, plausible that the challenges of gaining competitive advantage in a low cost-price strategy do not require a significant organizational learning platform, after the benefits are derived from aligning manufacturing with strategy. Concerning flexibility, informal comments from several survey participants indicated that designing products to suit customers and adjusting product mix (flexibility) was very much driven by the firm’s technological and design capabilities. It seems that for low-cost and flexibility strategies, organizations could rely on established ways of doing things and did not need to rely on on-going organizational learning. For delivery strategies, informal comments suggested that significant challenges were presented by customers demanding that appropriately designed products could be provided on time and challenging back-up services (delivery) could be assured. To satisfy these demands, faster more novel responses were required and all available information drawn from across the firm and from past experiences assisted this process. These observations are consistent with Galbraith’s (1973) proposition that the greater the uncertainty in tasks the greater the amount of information that must be processed during task execution to achieve a given level of performance. Finally, the study found that organizations both with and without BSC were achieving high levels of integrative information from their performance measures. Also, the data indicate that there is wide variation in the effectiveness of BSC in providing integrative information. This suggests that the adoption of BSC is not a sufficiently strong indicator that performance measurement systems will provide integrative information. Some BSC may not be designed to provide high levels of integrative information, rather they may be limited to supplying a mixture of financial and non-financial measures (Ittner & Larcker, 2003). Future studies of BSC should look beyond the mere provision of financial and non-financial measures to assess their role in organizational control. Even if it is the intent of BSC to provide integrative information, it may be that difficulties related to implementing the systems lead to the perception that the systems are not effective in providing this information. Thus, it would seem fruitful to investigate implementation issues associated with BSC (Mooraj et al., 1999). This study is subject to several limitations that should be considered when drawing conclusions from the results. First, the results of the analysis represent necessary but not sufficient conditions for proof of causal relationships. The paths indicate statistical associations consistent with the theory developed in the paper. Alternate research methods employing experimental techniques or longitudinal cases that can control for causality could investigate these issues. Second, there are issues concerning variable measurement. Measures, other than strategy were novel and further study could lead to refinement. For example, additional work could identify how specific measures within the categories of financials, customers, business processes and long-term innovation, relate to information dimensions such as integrativeness, comprehensiveness, a future-orientation or timeliness. While the measures of strategic alignment of manufacturing and organizational learning exhibited acceptable measurement validity it would be useful to develop these measures, perhaps by refining the underlying dimensions of the constructs. Third, the study does not consider the influence of contextual variables. Extensions to this study could examine the extent to which contextual variables influence the predicted relationships. Future research could examine the influence of different types of competitive environments and technologies including those that emphasize a high degree of process integration such as JIT as these create unique control issues related to managing interdependencies (Dixon et al., 1990, p. 130). More generally, high levels of uncertainty in the operating environment or within the technology may generate ambiguity in cause-effect relationships and as a consequence inhibit the potential for integrative SPMS to help align manufacturing and organizational learning (Galbraith, 1973). For example, Lillis (2002) found the effectiveness of performance measurement systems with multiple measures may be influenced by whether strategies focus on quality or responsiveness, with the later creating measurement problems due to difficulties in creating complete and unambiguous measures. The current study considered manufacturing organizations. Given recent interest in the application of SPMS in not-for-profit organizations (Cavalluzzo & Ittner, 2004), it may be useful to examine how integrative SPMS assist in managing these organizations. Also, the current study was conducted at the organizational level. A line of research has examined the effects of common or unique SPMS on individuals’ judgement (Lipe & Salterio, 2000). It would be interesting to extend this research by examining the effects of different dimensions of SPMS, such as integrativeness, on individual’s perceptions of information and their judgements based on the SPMS dimensions using theories from psychology (Lipe & Salterio, 2000). Finally, it is important to note that this study examined the relationship between integrative SPMS and the achievement of competitive advantage in the areas of product differentiation and low cost-price. It is possible that firms emphasising different strategies may differ in terms of the adoption of integrative SPMS. There are potential implications of strategy influencing the adoption of SPMS for studying the effects of SPMS on desired outcomes. If, for example, all firms emphasising low cost-price do not adopt integrative systems then none of them would receive any benefits that may enhance their competitiveness. Consequently, the model would not apply to low cost-price firms. However, this is an extreme case. If some low cost-price firms adopt dimensions of integrative SPMS systems to some extent then these firms may attain competitive advantage over their competitors which may then be identified within the model.7 Notwithstanding the limitations of the study, the results suggest that much can be learned about the role of SPMS in developing effective strategies by investigating the information properties of the systems. Moreover, the study provides an illustration of how PLS can be used to explore how information dimensions of SPMS assist in developing competitive strategic outcomes. In this study PLS helped advance understanding by identifying the role of strategic alignment of manufacturing and organizational learning as important in intervening between an integrative information dimension of SPMS and strategic outcomes