Performance Management Theory informing practice

The evolution of measurement in business was driven by three institutions: church, military and the public service, at both organisational and individual level. The operational level in performance measurement connects the two strategic and individual levels, by uniting and presenting characteristics for both.


Performance measurement is highly important at operational level in order to monitor tactical and functional results, at a higher frequency, on a medium scale, for specific processes, projects or teams.


However, there are some aspects to consider that criticize implementing performance measurement at operational level, such as: 

  • Appraisals target individuals (sometimes teams) rather the system itself (Louvion, 2008).
  • Operational managers might not receive proper preparation for measuring operational performance. This can lead to using measures and reviews that are not aligned to the organizational strategy or with the individual objectives of the department members or process participants.


Source: United Feature Syndicate, Inc. (1995)


  • Some managers turn a necessary checking-in into micromanagement.
  • Performance appraisal can have negative effects, such as transforming a vibrant, highly committed employee into a demoralized one.
  • Demands to increase quantity can decrease quality. For example, a garbage collection crew may succeed in collecting garbage from more households per day at the expense of strewing more litter along the streets.
  • Efficiency measures can generate negative behaviors: comparing the efficiency of organizations' administrative functions by measuring administrative costs as a percentage of total organizational costs. Such a measure may lead organizations to decentralize some of the administrative functions so that these costs will be excluded when measuring administrative costs (Grizzle, 2002).


  • Grizzle, G., A. (2002), Performance measurement and dysfunction. The Dark Side of Quantifying work, Public Performance & Management Review, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 363-369
  • Louvion, C. (2008), Managers are from Mars, Performance Appraisal from Venus, available at:  (accessed 16 August 2010)



Operational : Theory informing practice


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