Archives for March 2011

Can we not improve on the Balanced Scorecard?

Tweet Despite criticisms emanating from academic circles in the years after it was first launched, the Balanced Scorecard has reigned as the undisputed champion of performance management frameworks since Robert Kaplan and David Norton introduced it in the early 1990s. In a recent on-line discussion between members of the Strategic Planning Society Linked In group on whether it was an excellent tool or the reverse, one participant commented: “It seems unlikely that one third of the world’s largest companies would use the BSC or BSC-based approaches if they thought it was a waste of time.” Assuming this to be true… Read more

Conferring causality on correlation

Tweet My post Cod-Science masquerading as the real thing? argued that the frequency with which management fads appear reflects the tendency of management research to veer towards pseudo-science. In it I also hypothesized that this was due to demand, supply and dissemination factors, all of which were linked– the demand for scientific rigour by management practitioners is low, therefore it is not prized by the channels of dissemination and so adherence by authors is low. Following on from that, this is the first of three articles describing why greater scepticism is required when reading confident assertions such as “my research… Read more

Are tougher rules on disclosure required in management science?

Tweet In January 2010, the American Economic Association (AEA) agreed to establish a committee “to consider the Association’s existing disclosure and other ethical standards and potential extensions to those standards.”  The move was sparked by two things.  Firstly a study by Jerry Epstein and Jessica Carrick-Hagenberth had shown that economists who speak on financial regulatory matters do not always reveal their ties to financial companies; and the authors had sent a petition, signed by over 300 economists, to the President of the AEA urging the establishment of such a review.  In addition, Charles Ferguson’s new film Inside Job had brought to more public attention the issue… Read more

The Power of Passion

Tweet “Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.” Georg Hegel Last week I spoke at an event for Information Technology Management for Business (ITMB) students and the subject of my talk was how they could find their Passion (professionally speaking). By their Passion I meant work that they would feel gave their professional life meaning – work that would energize, enthuse and inspire them to both great efforts and great achievements. I tried to illustrate this by means of the pension-passion trade-off – that if they found their passion, they would not want to retire; more importantly,… Read more

Bias in management research

Tweet This third is the post on the subject of why the conclusions of management research are less scientific than the authors would have you believe; and it expands on the subject of bias. This influences research findings in two ways – in the perspectives of those people doing the research and the survival-instinct of those they interview. Confirmation bias At the root of researcher bias is the author’s desire to find something new and original that will merit publication in esteemed journals. As a result, pet theories receive far more weight than they deserve due to confirmation bias. Findings… Read more

Cod-science masquerading as the real thing?

Tweet If there is one constant in the business world it is the regularity with which management fads appear.  These have arrived at the rate of roughly one a year for the half century. A couple of years ago someone kindly sent me a slide showing fads by year since 1960 – x-axis providing the timeline and the y-axis the degree of hype.    Sadly in a fit of tidying I deleted the email without saving the attachment and attempts to find it again (Google searches, sick help requests on Linked-In forums, etc.) have yielded nothing, so I cannot share it… Read more

‘Channels’ are customers, too

Tweet The most insulting word in the marketing lexicon We all have our pet hates.  (Indeed I have so many that I have considered adding a Room 101 page to this blog to vent my bloated spleen as I sure as heck will never be given that opportunity on the eponymous BBC programme, allergy should it ever return.)  But when it comes to business and customer management, allergy I believe nothing tops the expression ‘channel’ (or its first cousin‘route-to-market’).  For me they are the most insulting words in the marketing lexicon. Why should such seemingly innocent expressions invoke so much… Read more

What management scientists can learn from historians’ fallacies

Tweet This second blog posting on why scepticism is required when reading the conclusions of management research focuses on the implications of the historian’s fallacies (over 100 of which were identified by David Hackett Fischer in his 1971 book on the subject) for management research.   These fallacies arise because the outcomes of history are clear, seek but the processes that created them rarely are  And Fischer highlighted how, ed in attempting to explain what happened and why, salve historians are prone to making errors of logic. Economists and historians Management research also tends to be backward facing, typically seeking to… Read more

Introducing the Stakeholder Scorecard

Tweet As my previous post outlined, ampoule there is a perceived lack of alternatives to the Balanced Scorecard. It also described why I believe there is potential to improve upon the Balanced Scorecard, order particularly when it is used as a strategic management framework (either on its own or in conjunction with the Strategy Map approach, also developed by David Kaplan and Richard Norton). It was both these points that Richard Sanders and I sought to address when we devised the Stakeholder Scorecard. Our approach was described in an article published in Strategy, the journal of the Strategic Planning Society,… Read more