The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) emerged in the early 1990s as a new management concept and was immediately embraced by both the academics and corporate world. (Denton, 2005; de Wall, 2003, Bourne, 2008). Since then, the potential of this new concept was recognized in various forms, receiving distinctions as the best theoretical framework in 1997 from the American Accounting Association (Norreklit, 2003), while the Harvard Business Review considered that the BSC was one of the most influential ideas of the twentieth century (Brudan, 2008).
BSC international adoption among large corporations
According to de Wall (2003) the Balanced Scorecard is the most successful tool in the field of performance management. The uptake of the BSC in a relatively short period of time is quite impressive. The Balanced Scorecard Collaborative (the initiators of the concept in 1992) claim that according to Bain & Company by 2002 the BSC was already used by half of the Global 1000 companies (Calabro, 2001).
The global use of the Balanced Scorecard and the user satisfaction
One of the most comprehensive evaluation of the global BSC adoption is given by the “Management tools and techniques” survey administered annually by Bain & Company. The latest survey, completed by 1430 international executives from large companies activating in a broad range of industries shows a 53 percent adoption of the Balanced Scoreacard in this corporations.
Source: Bain & Company, 2009
According with the same survey, in 2008 the Balanced Scorecard is much better placed among the most used management tools and techniques throughout the world. Compared with the data released in 2004 the Balanced Scorecard strengthened its position considerably climbing from the 13th position in the hierarchy up to the 6th spot (Rigby 2009).
Literature proof of BSC adoption in large corporations
One interesting aspect of the Balanced Scorecard is that a vast majority of the specialty literature written on the subject concentrates on its implementation and usage in large corporations. As the Bain & Company surveys show, a vast majority of corporations throughout the world are using Balanced Scorecard. Accordingly, several case studies are documenting the implementation and usage of the Balanced Scorecard in such multibillion companies like Mobil, AT&T, General Electric, Motorola (Kaplan and Norton, 1996, 2001), ABB, Scandia or Halifax (Olve et al, 1999).
Reasons for BSC wide adoption in large corporations
According with Andersen et al (2001), one of the reasons for the predominantly focus of Balanced Scorecard implementation in large corporations may be found in the multiple challenges that the management of these multilayered corporations imposed in terms of change, communication, coordination and control issues.
Additionally, a research study on 66 Australian corporations, examining the relationship between organizational size, product life cycle stage, market position and the Balanced Scorecard usage, showed that there is a significant association between organizational size and BSC usage (Hoque and James, 2000). According with the study results, as size increases, organizations find it more practical and useful to put greater emphasis on the adoption of the Balanced Scorecard as a strategic performance management system. Some of the reasons, for BSC wide adoption in large corporation are that it can provide with solutions to issues such as:
- Information processing constraints that appear mostly in large corporations due to decentralization and structuring of activities
- Needs to stimulate effective communication flows which becomes more apparent in large corporations
- Broader information and measurement issues that arise in large corporations ( Kaplan and Atkinson, 1998, cited in Hoque and James, 2000)
- Elaborate performance evaluation techniques (Hoque and James, 2000)
- Andersen, H., Cobbold, I. & Lawrie, G. (2001), Balanced Scorecard implementation in SMEs: reflection in literature and practice, 2GC conference paper.
- Bourne, M. (2008), – Performance measurement: learning from the past and projecting the future, Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp. 67-72.
- Brudan, A., N. (2008), From Management accounting to strategy execution and system thinking: The Balanced Scorecard (R)Evolution and New Research Agenda, Oeconomia, Vol. 3, Iss. 2, pp. 3-16.
- Calabro, L. (2001), On Balance, (Electronic Version) CFO Magazine, accessed 18 August, 2010 at: http://www.cfo.com/printable/article.cfm/2991608.
- Denton, K., D. (2005), Professional Practice: Measuring relevant things, International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 54, Issue 4, pp. 278-287.
- De Wall, A. (2003), The future of the balanced scorecard. An interview with Professor Robert Kaplan, MeasuringBusiness Excellence, Vol. 17, Iss. 1, pp. 30-36.
- Hoque, Z., James, W. (2000), Linking balanced scorecard measures to size and market factors: Impact on Organizational Performance, Journal of Management Accounting Research, Vol. 12, pp. 1-17.
- Kaplan, R., Norton, D. (1996), The Balanced Scorecard: translating strategy into action, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA.
- Kaplan, R., Norton, D. (2001), The strategy focused organization. How Balanced Scorecard companies thrive in the new business environment, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA.
- Norreklit, H. (2003), The Balanced Scorecard: what is the score? A rhetorical analysis of the Balanced Scorecard, Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 28, pp. 591-619.
- Olve, N., Roy, J. & Wetter, M. (1999), Performance Drivers: a practical guide to using the Balanced Scorecard, Wiley, UK.
- Rigby, D. & Bilodeau, B. (2009), Management tools and trends 2009, Bain & Company, accessed 18 August 2010 at: http://www.bain.com/bainweb/PDFs/cms/Public/Management_Tools_2009.pdf.