CUED Publications database

Managing without measuring: A study of an electricity distribution company

Sobótka, M and Platts, KW (2010) Managing without measuring: A study of an electricity distribution company. Measuring Business Excellence, 14. pp. 28-42. ISSN 1368-3047

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present an exception to the common belief "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it". It aims to show how in certain situations particular practices, attitudes and cultures can remove the need for individual performance measurement. Design/methodology/approach: First, the paper identifies the usual roles of performance measurement in managing individual employees as described by control and motivation theorists. Second, it identifies a market-leading organisation where managers deliberately refuse to use their top-level performance measurement system to manage the performance of individual employees. A case study is carried out to test what non-measurement mechanisms fulfil the roles of individual performance measurement in this organisation. Findings: Building on situations observed at this company, a set of possible characteristics of companies that do not require formalised individual performance measurement systems in order to achieve high performance standards is put forward. Practical implications: Managers should not always assume that individual performance measurement is the only way to achieve excellent performance. This study shows that, by granting responsibilities and providing appropriate support, managers can channel workers' enhanced motivation towards meeting wider organisational goals. Originality/value: This work broadens the understanding of how excellent performance can be achieved. It shows that excellence can be achieved through practices based on shared values linked to motivation, trust, and a common sense of mission, without the need to install individual performance measurement systems based on cybernetic principles. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Div E > Strategy and Policy
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 19:35
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2021 08:11
DOI: 10.1108/13683041011027436