Adaptation (Renewal)


One of the most important characteristics of the Balanced Scorecard design is its flexibility and adaptive nature. The Balanced Scorecard framework was shaped to be a dynamic tool capable of change as required by business conditions (Niven, 2002)


As organizations are facing today an increasingly competitive and changing environment, the need to adapt their strategies to the ever changing conditions has become a must. Thus, strategic objectives, measures and targets, need to be monitored on a continuously bases as the need for changes can be expected to appear at any time.


When such a need for a strategic change appears, managers have the duty to rigorously reexamine their strategy and adapt it, deciding whether incremental changes need to be done or a new transformational strategy must be developed (Kaplan and Norton, 2008). Accordingly, the two scholars argue that testing and adapting the strategy triggers several activities that need to be performed:

  • an analysis of the current economics of existing products and customers
  • statistical analysis of correlations between performance measures
  • consideration of new strategy options


According to Niven (2002), the Balanced Scorecard keep you informed at any time of how the organization is performing and alerts you when possible changes and updates to the strategies must be done. Such extreme cases usually require a realignment of the strategy. Accordingly, in these particular cases, while some of the objectives, measures and targets might remain in place unmodified, some could require to be updated and for some there might be the need to be replaced with new ones consistent with the updated strategy.


No matter if the need for an unexpected update appears or not, the Balanced Scorecard should be reviewed and if necessary updated at least on an annually bases (Niven, 2002). He supports its reasoning by presenting the results of a best practices benchmarking study, in which 62 percent of the participants suggested that they update the Balanced Scorecard annually. The same survey showed that 15 percent update the scorecard every 6 months, while 23 percent update it on a quarterly base.


According with Niven (2002) several changes might be expected to appear in the Balanced Scorecard strategic objectives, measures and targets:

  • Objectives might be updated to more accurately represent their core purpose or to clarify potential confusing terminology
  • Measures could be subject to changes in respect with their calculation formula. This change might occur as a need to better capture the performance of a certain aspect monitored.
  • The description of the measures could be revised and enhanced in order to facilitate employees  better understanding  of operational and strategic significance
  • Changes in the  frequency with which the data is collected might be necessary to be done


However, it must be kept in mind that any change in strategic objectives and measures has a potential to triggers a change in the corresponding targets (Niven, 2002) and consequently on the initiatives to which they are linked. 



  • Kaplan, S. & Norton, D. (2008), Mastering the Management System, Harvard Business Review, pp. 62-77, January, 2008.
  • Niven, P. (2002), Balanced Scorecard step by step: Maximizing Performance and Maintaining results, Wiley & Sons, New York, NY.

BSC system : Usage


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