What is it about?

This paper discusses the Balanced Scorecard (BSC), a strategic performance management tool that has been widely adopted by various organizations to measure and manage their strategic goals. The BSC includes four perspectives—internal, external, financial, and customer—and is used to translate vision, communicate and link strategy throughout the organization, and integrate business plans to achieve strategic goals. It also measures employee engagement and performance management. The paper explores the use of the BSC in different industries and its relevance in today's organizations, including its application in project selection, supplier performance, quality management, risk minimization, corporate social responsibility, environmental performance, and healthcare. It acknowledges the BSC's limitations, such as not measuring ethics, ineffective goal alignment, simplistic metrics, and potential roadblocks to its implementation like complexity and lack of buy-in. The article suggests that Systems Theory and Thinking (ST&T) can address some of the BSC's deficiencies by providing a deeper understanding of organizational relationships and dynamics. It also mentions the possibility of integrating Bolman and Deal's framework with systems theory to improve the BSC's effectiveness. The paper concludes that the BSC is an effective tool for Organization Development and Change (ODC) and strategic planning, capable of improving organizational performance. It compares the BSC to a car's instrument panel, offering a comprehensive view of an organization's performance metrics and indicators. The study used an integrated literature review approach and examined data from several Fortune 500 companies.

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Why is it important?

The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is important for several reasons: Strategic Management: The BSC helps organizations translate their vision and strategy into actionable objectives. By doing so, it aligns day-to-day work with long-term goals. Performance Measurement: It provides a framework for measuring performance from multiple perspectives, not just financial. This ensures a more balanced view of organizational health and success. Decision Making: The BSC informs decision-making by providing a comprehensive set of performance metrics that guide strategic priorities and resource allocation. Communication: It facilitates communication and understanding of business goals and strategies at all levels of the organization, ensuring that everyone is working towards the same objectives. Focus on Key Areas: By including financial, customer, internal process, and learning and growth perspectives, the BSC ensures that key areas of the business are not neglected. Continuous Improvement: The BSC framework encourages continuous evaluation and improvement of processes, strategies, and outcomes. Adaptability: It is flexible and can be customized to fit the unique needs of different organizations, including for-profit, non-profit, and public sector entities. Integration: The BSC can integrate various parts of a business plan, ensuring that different departments and functions are working cohesively towards strategic goals. Employee Engagement: It can be used to measure and manage employee performance and engagement, which are critical for achieving strategic objectives. Organizational Development and Change: As a tool for ODC, the BSC helps organizations navigate and manage change effectively, aligning changes with strategic objectives. Research and Development: The BSC is a subject of ongoing research, and its study contributes to the fields of management, accounting, marketing, and more, providing valuable insights into organizational performance management. Understanding and addressing the limitations of the BSC, such as potential misalignment with strategy or oversimplification of metrics, is crucial for its successful implementation. Integrating it with Systems Theory and Thinking (ST&T) or frameworks like Bolman and Deal's can enhance its effectiveness and help organizations achieve a more holistic understanding of their operations and environment.


The publication's comprehensive review of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) as a strategic performance management tool highlights its versatility and adaptability across various industries. The BSC's four perspectives—internal, external, financial, and customer—offer a holistic approach to aligning an organization's operational activities with its strategic vision. This multidimensional approach is particularly valuable in today's complex business environment, where organizations must balance short-term financial performance with long-term sustainability and stakeholder satisfaction. The discussion on the BSC's limitations, such as the potential for simplistic metrics and ineffective goal alignment, is crucial for practitioners and scholars alike. It underscores the importance of a nuanced implementation that goes beyond surface-level indicators to truly capture the essence of an organization's strategic performance. The suggestion to integrate Systems Theory and Thinking (ST&T) is intriguing, as it could provide a more dynamic and interconnected view of organizational performance, addressing some of the BSC's criticisms. The paper's exploration of the BSC's role in Organization Development and Change (ODC) is particularly relevant in an era where change is constant and rapid. The BSC's ability to serve as a communication tool, aligning and mobilizing the entire organization towards common goals, is a testament to its value in managing change effectively. However, the publication also serves as a reminder that the BSC is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The potential roadblocks to its successful implementation, such as complexity and lack of buy-in, highlight the need for careful planning, customization, and stakeholder engagement. The BSC must be tailored to fit the unique context and culture of each organization to fully realize its benefits. The analogy of the BSC to a car's instrument panel is apt, as it emphasizes the need for a comprehensive view of performance metrics. Just as a driver relies on various gauges to navigate and maintain the vehicle, organizational leaders need a diverse set of indicators to steer their organizations towards success. In conclusion, the publication presents a balanced view of the BSC, acknowledging its widespread adoption and impact while also recognizing its limitations and the need for thoughtful application. It serves as a valuable resource for those looking to implement or refine their use of the BSC in pursuit of strategic excellence.

Prof. Robert M Yawson, PhD
Quinnipiac University

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This page is a summary of: Systems Perspective of the Use of the Balanced Scorecard for Organization Development and Change, SAGE Open, October 2023, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/21582440231218064.
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