University of California, United States


General setup

At the beginning of the 1990s, prompted by a transition of leadership, the University of California “engaged in a comprehensive reevaluation of the role of business administration and operations in sustaining excellence into the 21st century” (Hafner, 1998).


This was due to a general feeling that the administrative management system that had supported the rise of the University of California to preeminence among worldwide research universities was no longer suited to the new realities. The University has recognized at the root of the problem, the need to shift from a primarily static and procedural management system to a more dynamic system that could play a diagnostic, self evaluation and learning role in the same time (Hafner, 1998).


Accordingly, a new performance architecture that would address these new realities and demonstrate accountability by delivering increased performance for fix or decreasing cost to the University was decided to be implemented. The newly introduced concept at that date, the Balanced Scorecard, was chosen as the central pillar of the newly performance architecture system envisioned in order to:

  • Focus on the future
  • Set strategic goals and performance objectives, and
  • Track progress over time in achieving the goals  through a meaningful set of performance measures (Hafner, 1998)


UC Balanced Scorecard – putting the project into action

In order to shape the new performance architecture round the Balanced Scorecard framework, the University of California helped by the IBM consultants, launched the initiative “Partnership for Performance”.


The new performance architecture based on the Balanced Scorecard concept was envisaged to cover the administration and management of:

  • University of California Office of the President
  • The nine University of California campuses
  • Three national laboratories managed by the University under contract to the US Department of Energy


UC Balanced Scorecard – defining the vision and strategic direction

While many of the campuses and institutions under the general administration of the University of California had articulated their own visions and goals in support of the institutional missions, no vision and strategic direction for the administration as a whole was developed. According with Hafner (1998) the Balanced Scorecard implementation initiative brought all the executives of these institutions together in order to align their vision and goals with the University general vision and strategic direction. The newly created vision and strategic objectives framework in pictured below.


UC - BSC 1 -

Source: adapted from Hafner, 1998


UC Balanced Scorecard initiatives

Though the Balanced Scorecard was seen at its origin as a performance measurement system, the University of California acknowledge its contribution as a new more comprehensive strategic management system, each perspective of the BSC providing a lens through which to view performance (Hafner, 1998). According with the researchers, the Balanced Scorecard provided University of California with new information and insights into their operations


UC - BSC 1 - BSC20.comSource: adapted from Hafner, 1998


UC Balanced Scorecard cause and effect relationship – Example

According with Hafner (1998), the newly created performance architecture at University of California, allowed managers to communicate the strategy “up and down the organization” by linking it to the operational and individual performance objectives.


In order to roll out its strategy over all campuses and institutions under management, five key functional areas were chosen to develop a common set of measures:

  • Human resources
  • Facility management
  • Environment health and safety
  • Information technology
  • Financial operations


Example of a cause and effect relationship


UC - BSC 3 - BSC20.comSource: adapted from Hafner, 1998


UC Balanced Scorecard – communicating the strategy

In order to communicate and share new ideas and thoughts on the many aspects of the organizational performance measurement and management system based on the Balanced Scorecard, a university “think thank” Performance Champions group was established that meets quarterly as a forum (Hafner, 1998)


The group members composed of executives and department heads responsible with the BSC have the duty to:

  • Review measurement initiatives
  • Explore trends and models in use in other industries
  • Provide guidance and direction for the BSC


In order to better communicate and disseminate the performance architecture ideology a new website was created that presents:

  • University of California vision, mission, values and goals
  • The Balanced Scorecard approach and objectives
  • Work in progress by the measurement team
  • Customer satisfaction and organizational surveys
  • Presentation materials and initiative status reports and
  • White papers on performance management related topics


UC Balanced Scorecard – cascading the BSC

Two of the University of California Campuses, UC Davis and UC San Diego have adopted the Balanced Scorecard as a strategic business tool for business management.


The University of California San Diego has received national recognition for successfully adapting the organizational Balanced Scorecard to the internal administration realities of the San Diego Campus. (Hafner, 1998)


UC Balanced Scorecard – A learning exercise

The University of California performance architecture system based on the Balanced Scorecard brought several contributions in maintaining and enhancing organizational performance and excellence:

  • All administrative management personnel in every business area are directing their efforts towards bridging the gap between current performance and future potential
  • BSC has helped sharpen the focus and better align the day to day activities with longer strategies
  • It enhanced trust and facilitated better dialogue, higher level of employee involvement
  • It helped shape a culture of evidence, where performance information is woven into the fabric of the UC administrative management philosophy (Hafner, 1998)


UC Performance Management process based on the Balanced Scorecard


UC - BSC 4 -
Source: adapted from Hafner, 1998



BSC in practice : Case studies


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