BSC and Tableau de Bord


Balanced Scorecard and Tableau de Bord are two strategic performance management systems with different cultural and ideological roots. While the Balanced Scorecard is the creation of the American management school of thought, Tableau de Bord is a strategic management system with a wide adoption especially within the confines of the French borders.


Despite the fact that the Balanced Scorecard has created a great deal of attention both in the United States and in many other countries throughout the world, the specialty literature recognizes that in France, the enthusiasm of the Balanced Scorecard adoption is rather limited (Bourguignon et al, 2001; Daum, 2005; Lebas et al, 2001).


The French academics and practitioners reticence lies mostly on the fact that the Tableau de Bord who was introduced to the French companies round 1930, almost 8 decades ago, resembles in many aspects the much newer philosophy of the Balanced Scorecard, only 2 decades old. (Bourguignon et al, 2001).


Due to the recognized similarities between the two management concepts several authors suggested that the Tableau de Bord is the precursor of the modern Balanced Scorecard (Lebas, 1996; Brudan, 2008). Others based on the resembling points between the two concepts conducted comparative analysis (Bourguignon et al, 2001; Daum, 2005, Lebas et al, 2001). In the following section the main findings of these comparative analyses on the two performance management concepts are briefly introduced.




  • Both performance concepts have their roots in the management accounting philosophy
  • They both aim at avoiding the monopoly of financial measures by offering a combination of financial and non financial indicators
  • Assume that anticipation is more important than reaction
  • Recommend the selectivity of the measures, capturing the most important aspects of the business, thus avoiding the surplus information
  • Both tools closely link strategies, objectives and performance measures within a causal link (Bourguignon et al, 2001)
  • Both concepts are rolled out in the organizational at different levels




  • While the emphasize on the Tableau de Bord is mostly process oriented, the Balanced Scorecard adopts a more financial oriented perspective (private organizations), stakeholder oriented (non profit, governmental).
  • Tableau de Bord was introduced to the French companies especially during 1930s while the Balanced Scorecard is a concept only 2 decades old.
  • The Balanced Scorecard keeps mostly a hierarchical logic and does not emphasize to much the importance of lateral relationships in the creation of performance while the Tableau de Bord gives similar importance to both vertical and horizontal relationships (Lebas et al, 2001; Daum, 2005)
  • While the Balanced Scorecard strategic concept is based on Michael Porter’s Models or newer INSEAD’s Blue Ocean Strategy, the Tableau de Bord does not explicitly rely on any specific strategic model, but more on managers strategic representation (Bourguignon et al, 2001)
  • Causal relationships between strategy objectives and measurement are more opened in the Tableau de Bord than in the Balanced Scorecard. In these respect the managers using Tableau de Bord have to adapt a very generic process to his/her own context (subjective), while Balanced Scorecard is a more ready to use system (objective) (Bourguignon et al, 2001)
  • There is an unequal balance between the two concepts in terms of the emphasize put on reward. While the Balanced Scorecard helps linking rewards to performance measurement, there is no such emphasize with Tableau de Bord where the learning dimensions is the one which captures more attention. (Bourguignon et al, 2001) Accordingly, the last developments brought to the Balanced Scorecard started to put more emphasize on the learning aspect (Brudan, 2008)




  • Bourguignon, A., Malleret, V. & Norreklit, H. (2001), Balanced Scorecard versus French tableau de bord: beyond dispute, a cultural and ideological perspective, available at:
  • Brudan, A. (2008), From Management Accounting to Strategic Execution and System Thinking: the Balanced Scorecard (r)evolution and new research agenda, "3rd Audit and Accounting Convergence" Conference, 2008 Edition, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
  • Daum, J. (2005), French Tableau de Bord: Better than the Balanced Scorecard?, Der Controlling Berater, No. 7, pp. 459-502.
  • Lebas, M., Drechsler, C. & Chiapello, E. (2001), The Tableau de Bord, a French approach to management information, draft version.

BSC system : BSC and other concepts


Certified KPI Professional training

smartKPIs Premium

Performance Management Books