Category Archives: human resources management

Why should hospitality businesses care about their stakeholders?

Image by Rob Monkman (React Mobile)

The following text was adapted from one of my latest articles that was published in Wiley’s Sustainable Development (Journal).

Suggested Citation: Camilleri, M.A. (2021). Strategic attributions of corporate social responsibility and environmental management: The business case for doing well by doing.  good! Sustainable Development.


The corporate social responsibility (CSR) notion became popularized during the latter part of 20th the century (Carroll, 2021; 1999; Moon, 2007). At the time, businesses were becoming more concerned on how their activities affected legitimate stakeholders and the development of society at large (Phillips, 2003; Freeman & Reed, 1983). Hence, various authors posited that CSR is a fertile ground for theory development and empirical analysis (McWilliams, Siegel & Wright, 2006).

Without doubt, the clarification of the meaning of CSR is a significant strand in the research agenda (Owen, 2005). CSR has developed as a rather vague concept of moral good or normative behaviors (Frederick, 1986). This construct was described as a relativistic measure of ‘the economic, legal, ethical and discretionary expectations that society had of organizations at a given point of time’ (Carroll, 1979). CSR tackled ‘social problem(s)’ to engender positive ‘economic benefit(s)’ to ensure ‘well paid jobs, and … wealth’ (Drucker, 1984).

CSR has continuously been challenged by those who expected businesses to engage in socially responsible behaviors with stakeholders, to adhere to ethical norms in society, and to protect the natural environment (Camilleri, 2015; Lindgreen & Swaen, 2010; Burke & Logsdon, 1996). Previous research reported that CSR practices can result in improved relationships with different stakeholders (Camilleri, 2017a; Moon, 2007; Sen, Bhattacharya & Korschun, 2006).

Various commentators contended that it is in the businesses’ interest to engage in responsible behaviors to forge closer ties with internal and external stakeholders (Ewan & Freeman, 1993; Freeman, 1984). In addition, many researchers reported that there is a causal relationship between the firms’ stakeholder engagement and their financial performance (Henisz, Dorobantu & Nartey, 2014 Pava & Krausz, 1996). This relationship also holds in the tourism and hospitality industry context (Rhou, Singal & Koh, 2016; Camilleri, 2012; Inoue, & Lee, 2011).

Various hotels and restaurants are increasingly communicating about their responsible activities that are having an effect on their stakeholders, including their employees, patrons, guests, suppliers, local communities, the environment, regulatory authorities and the community at large (Camilleri, 2020a). Like other businesses, tourism and hospitality enterprises are always expected to provide decent employment to locals and migrant workers, health and safety in their workplace environments, adequate compensation and recognition of all employees, ongoing training and development opportunities, work-life balance, and the like.

Various studies suggest that, in normal circumstances, when businesses engage in responsible human resources management (HRM), they will boost their employees’ morale, enhance their job satisfaction and reduce the staff turnover (Asimah, 2018). However, an unprecedented COVID-19 and its preventative measures have surely led to a significant reduction in their business activities.

The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the companies’ social metrics, including on their employees’ conditions of employment, financial remuneration and job security, among other issues (Kramer & Kramer, 2020). It has inevitably led to mass redundancies or resulted in the workers’ reduced wages and salaries. On the other hand, this situation has led to a decrease in the companies’ environmental impacts, such as their greenhouse gas emissions and other unwanted externalities.

Several businesses, including hospitality enterprises are becoming more concerned about their impact on the environment (Kim, Lee & Fairhurst, 2017; Elkington, 1998). In many cases, hotels and restaurants strive to reduce their environmental footprint by offering local, fresh, and sustainable food to their patrons. Very often, they are implementing sustainable models including circular economy systems to use and reuse resources, and to minimize their waste, where possible (Camilleri, 2020b). Alternatively, they are decreasing their electricity and water consumption in their properties, by investing in green technologies and renewable energy sources.

These sustainability initiatives could result in operational efficiencies and cost savings, higher quality, innovation and competitiveness, in the long term. As a matter of fact, many studies confirmed that there is a business case for CSR, as corporations engage in socially responsible and environmentally sound behaviors, to pursue profit-making activities (Porter & Kramer, 2011; 2019; Camilleri, 2012; Carroll & Shabana, 2010; Weber, 2008). Notwithstanding, CSR and sustainable practices can help businesses to improve their reputation, to enhance their image among external stakeholders and could lead to a favorable climate of trust and cooperation with internal stakeholders (Camilleri, 2019a).

In this light, this research builds on previous theoretical underpinnings that are focused on the CSR agenda and on its related stakeholder theory. However, it differentiates itself from other contributions as it clarifies that stakeholder attributions, as well as the corporations’ ethical responsibility, responsible human resources management and environmental responsibility will add value to society and to the businesses themselves.

This contribution addresses a knowledge gap in academia. For the time being, there is no other study that effects of stakeholders’ attributions on the companies’ strategic attributions, as depicted in Figure 1. In sum, this study clarifies that there is scope for businesses to forge strong relationships with different stakeholders. It clearly indicated that their engagement with stakeholders and their responsible behaviors were leading to strategic outcomes for their business and to society at large.

Figure 1. A research model that sheds light on the factors leading to strategic outcomes of corporate responsible behaviors

(Source: Camilleri, 2021)

Implications to academia

This research model suggests that the businesses’ socially and environmentally responsible behaviors are triggered by different stakeholders. The findings evidenced that stakeholder-driven attributions were encouraging tourism and hospitality companies to engage in responsible behaviors, particularly toward their employees. The results confirmed that stakeholders were expecting these businesses to implement environmentally friendly initiatives, like recycling practices, water and energy conservation, et cetera. The findings revealed that there was a significant relationship between stakeholder attributions and the businesses’ strategic attributions to undertake responsible and sustainable initiatives.

This contribution proves that there is scope for tourism and hospitality firms to forge relationships with various stakeholders. By doing so, they will add value to their businesses, to society and the environment. The respondents clearly indicated that CSR initiatives were having an effect on marketplace stakeholders, by retaining customers and attracting new ones, thereby increasing their companies’ bottom lines.

Previous research has yielded mixed findings on the relationships between corporate social performance and their financial performance (Inoue & Lee, 2011; Kang et al., 2010; Orlitzky, Schmidt, & Rynes, 2003; McWilliams and Siegel 2001). Many contributions reported that companies did well by doing good (Camilleri, 2020a; Falck & Heblich, 2007; Porter & Kramer, 2011). The businesses’ laudable activities can help them build a positive brand image and reputation (Rhou et al., 2016). Hence, there is scope for the businesses to communicate about their CSR behaviors to their stakeholders. Their financial performance relies on the stakeholders’ awareness of their social and environmental responsibility (Camilleri, 2019a).

Arguably, the traditional schools of thought relating to CSR, including the stakeholder theory or even the legitimacy theory had primarily focused on the businesses’ stewardship principles and on their ethical or social responsibilities toward stakeholders in society (Carroll, 1999; Evan & Freeman, 1993; Freeman, 1986). In this case, this study is congruent with more recent contributions that are promoting the business case for CSR and environmentally-sound behaviors (e.g. Dmytriyev et al., 2021; Carroll, 2021; Camilleri, 2012; Carroll & Shabana 2010; Falck & Heblich, 2007).

This latter perspective is synonymous with value-based approaches, including ‘The Virtuous Circles’ (Pava & Krausz 1996), ‘The Triple Bottom Line Approach’ (Elkington 1998), ‘The Supply and Demand Theory of the Firm’ (McWilliams & Siegel 2001), ‘the Win-Win Perspective for CSR practices’ (Falck & Heblich, 2007), ‘Creating Shared Value’ (Porter & Kramer 2011), ‘Value in Business’ (Lindgreen et al., 2012), ‘The Stakeholder Approach to Maximizing Business and Social Value’ (Bhattacharya et al., 2012), ‘Value Creation through Social Strategy’ (Husted  et al., 2015) and ‘Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability’ (Camilleri, 2018), among others.

In sum, the proponents of these value-based theories sustain that there is a connection between the businesses’ laudable behaviors and their growth prospects. Currently, there are still a few contributions, albeit a few exceptions, that have focused their attention on the effects of stakeholder attributions on CSR and responsible environmental practices in the tourism and hospitality context.

This research confirmed that the CSR initiatives that are directed at internal stakeholders, like human resources, and/or environmentally friendly behaviors that can affect external stakeholders, including local communities are ultimately creating new markets, improving the companies’ profitability and strengthening their competitive positioning. Therefore, today’s businesses are encouraged to engage with a wide array of stakeholders to identify their demands and expectations. This way, they will be in a position to add value to their business, to society and the environment.

Managerial Implications

The strategic attributions of responsible corporate behaviors focus on exploiting opportunities that reconcile differing stakeholder demands. This study demonstrated that tourism and hospitality employers were connecting with multiple stakeholders. The respondents confirmed that they felt that their employers’ CSR and environmentally responsible practices were resulting in shared value opportunities for society and for the businesses themselves, as they led to an increased financial performance, in the long run.

In the past, CSR was associated with corporate philanthropy, contributions-in-kind toward social and environmental causes, environmental protection, employees’ engagement in community works, volunteerism and pro-bono service among other responsible initiatives. However, in this day and age, many companies are increasingly recognizing that there is a business case for CSR. Although, discretionary spending in CSR is usually driven by different stakeholders, businesses are realizing that there are strategic attributions, in addition to stakeholder attributions, to invest in CSR and environmental management practices (Camilleri, 2017a).

This contribution confirmed that stakeholder pressures were having direct and indirect effects on the businesses’ strategic outcomes. This research clearly indicated that both internal and external stakeholders were encouraging the tourism business to invest in environmentally friendly initiatives. This finding is consistent with other theoretical underpinnings (He, He & Xu, 2018; Graci & Dodds, 2008).

Recently, more hotels and restaurants are stepping in with their commitment for sustainability issues as they comply with non-governmental organizations’ regulatory tools such as process and performance-oriented standards relating to environmental protection, corporate governance, and the like (Camilleri, 2015).

Many governments are reinforcing their rules of law and directing businesses to follow their regulations as well as ethical principles of intergovernmental institutions. Yet, certain hospitality enterprises are still not always offering appropriate conditions of employment to their workers (Camilleri, 2021; Asimah, 2018; Janta et al., 2011; Poultson, 2009). The tourism industry is characterized by its seasonality issues and its low entry, insecure jobs.

Several hotels and restaurants would usually offer short-term employment prospects to newcomers to the labor market, including school leavers, individuals with poor qualifications and immigrants, among others (Harkinson et al., 2011). Typically, they recruit employees on a part-time basis and in temporary positions to economize on their wages. Very often, their low-level workers are not affiliated with trade unions. Therefore, they are not covered by collective agreements. As a result, hotel employees may be vulnerable to modern slavery conditions, as they are expected to work for longer than usual, in unsocial hours, during late evenings, night shifts, and in the weekends.

In this case, this research proved that tourism and hospitality employees appreciated their employers’ responsible HRM initiatives including the provision of training and development opportunities, the promotion of equal opportunities when hiring and promoting employees and suitable arrangements for their health and safety. Their employers’ responsible behaviors was having a significant effect on the strategic attributions to their business.

Hence, there is more to CSR than ‘doing well by doing good’. The respondents believed that businesses could increase their profits by engaging in responsible HRM and in ethical behaviors. They indicated that their employer was successful in attracting and retaining customers. This finding suggests that the company they worked for, had high credentials among their employees. The firms’ engagement with different stakeholders can result in an improved reputation and image. They will be in a better position to create economic value for their business if they meet and exceed their stakeholders’ expectations.  

In sum, the objectives of this research were threefold. Firstly, the literature review has given an insight into mainstream responsible HRM initiatives, ethical principles and environmentally friendly investments. Secondly, its empirical research has contributed to knowledge by adding a tourism industry perspective in the existing theoretical underpinnings that are focused on strategic attributions and outcomes of corporate responsibility behaviors. Thirdly, it has outlined a model which clearly evidences how different stakeholder demands and expectations are having an effect on the businesses’ responsible activities.

On a lighter note, it suggests that Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ is triggering businesses to create value to society whilst pursuing their own interest. Hence, corporate social and environmental practices can generate a virtuous circle of positive multiplier effects.

Therefore, there is scope for the businesses, including tourism and hospitality enterprises to communicate about their CSR and environmental initiatives through different marketing communications channels via traditional and interactive media. Ultimately, it is in their interest to promote their responsible behaviors through relevant messages that are clearly understood by different stakeholders.

Limitations and future research

This contribution raises awareness about the strategic attributions of CSR in the tourism and hospitality industry sectors. It clarified that CSR behaviors including ethical responsibility, responsible human resources management and environmental responsibility resulted in substantial benefits to a wide array of stakeholders and to the firm itself. Therefore, there is scope for other researchers to replicate this study in different contexts.

Future studies can incorporate other measures relating to the stakeholder theory. Alternatively, they can utilize other measures that may be drawn from the resource-based view theory, legitimacy theory or institutional theory, among others. Perhaps, further research may use qualitative research methods to delve into the individuals’ opinions and beliefs on strategic attributions of CSR and on environmentally-sound investments, including circular economy systems and renewable technologies.

A free-prepublication version of this paper is available (in its entirety) through ResearchGate.

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Filed under Business, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, COVID19, CSR, Hospitality, Human Resources, human resources management, Marketing, Strategic Management, Strategy, Sustainability, sustainable development, tourism

Post-COVID19: The hoteliers’ shifts in beliefs, behaviours and their outlook for the future

The 2019-2020 coronavirus pandemic (COVID19) is currently having a devastating effect on the global economy at large. At the time, its impact is even more conspicuous in certain service industries including the travel and tourism sectors.

The closure of the international borders as well as the latest travel ban and lock down conditions have inevitably led to grounded air planes, docked cruise ships, idle tour buses, shuttered tourism businesses and tourist attractions. This dramatic situation has resulted in a sudden downward spiral in international arrivals and receipts in many tourist destinations.

The hospitality enterprises including hotels, bed and breakfasts, pubs, cafes, restaurants and the like, that are usually run by family businesses, are experiencing an unprecedented crisis unlike other entities in the private sector.

Currently, there is no demand for their services. COVID19 has changed some of the practitioners’ attitudes, policies and behaviours as they have adapted themselves to: enhance digital collaborations; engage with remote working technologies;  increase their workplace hygiene; and to find alternative sources of income by diversifying their services, among other issues. Hopefully, there will be better prospects for them when the current crisis ends. It is very likely that they will be operating in the context of a “new normal” in a post COVID19 era.

(This is an excerpt from my latest research project)

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Filed under Coronavirus, COVID19, Hospitality, Human Resources, human resources management, Market Research, Marketing

The Performance Management in Higher Education

This is an excerpt from my latest academic article, entitled; “Using the balanced scorecard as a performance management tool in higher education” that will be published in Sage’s “Management in Education” (Journal).

The higher education institutions (HEIs) are competing in a global marketplace, particularly those which are operating in the contexts of neoliberal policymaking (Fadeeva and Mochizuki, 2010; Deem et al., 2008; Olssen and Peters, 2005; Bleiklie, 2001). Several universities are characterized by their de-centralized leadership as they operate with budget constraints (Smeenk, Teelken, Eisinga and Doorewaard, 2008; Bleiklie, 2001). Notwithstanding, their stakeholders expect their increased accountability and quality assurance, in terms of their efficiency, economy and effectiveness (Witte and López-Torres, 2017; Smeek et al., 2008). Hence, HEIs set norms, standards, benchmarks, and quality controls to measure their performance; as they are increasingly market-led and customer-driven (Jauhiainen, Jauhiainen, Laiho and Lehto, 2015; Billing, 2004; Etzkowitz, et al., 2000). Specifically, the universities’ performance is having a positive effect on the economic development of societies; through the provision of inclusive, democratized access to quality education and high impact research (Arnesen & Lundahl, 2006). Moreover, the educational institutions are also expected to forge strong relationships with marketplace stakeholders, including business and industry (Waring, 2013).

As a result, many universities have adapted, or are trying to adapt to the changing environment as they re-structure their organization and put more emphasis on improving their organizational performance. These developments have inevitably led to the emergence of bureaucratic procedures and processes (Jauhiainen et al., 2015).  HEIs have even started using the corporate language as they formulate plans, set objectives, and use performance management criteria to control their resources (Smeenk et al., 2008; Ball, 2003). For instance, the Finnish universities have introduced new steering mechanisms, including the performance systems in budgeting, organizational reforms, management methods and salary systems (Camilleri, 2018; Jauhiainen et al., 2015). Previously, Welch (2007) noted that HEIs were adopting new modes of governance, organizational forms, management styles, and values that were prevalent in the private business sector. The logic behind these new managerial reforms was to improve the HEIs’ value for money principles (Waring, 2013; Deem, 1998). Therefore, the financing of HEIs is a crucial element in an imperfectly competitive, quasi-market model (Marginson, 2013; Olssen and Peters, 2005; Enders, 2004; Dill, 1997).

Academic commentators frequently suggest that the managerial strategies, structures, and values that belong to the ‘private sector’ are leading to significant improvements in the HEIs’ performance (Waring, 2013; Teelken, 2012; Deem and Brehony, 2005; Deem, 1998). On the other hand, critics argue that the ‘managerial’ universities are focusing on human resource management (HRM) practices that affect the quality of their employees’ job performance (Smeenk et al., 2008). Very often, HEIs are employing bureaucratic procedures involving time-consuming activities that could otherwise have been invested in research activities and / or to enhance teaching programs. The HEIs’ management agenda is actually imposed on the academics’ norms of conduct and on their professional behaviors. Therefore, the universities’ leadership can affect the employees’ autonomies as they are expected to comply with their employers’ requirements (Deem and Brehony, 2005). Smeenk et al. (2008) posited that this contentious issue may lead to perennial conflicts between the employees’ values and their university leaders’ managerial values; resulting in lower organizational commitment and reduced productivities.

The HEIs’ managerial model has led to a shift in the balance of power from the academics to their leaders as the universities have developed quality assurance systems to monitor and control their academic employees’ performance (Camilleri, 2018; Cardoso, Tavares and Sin, 2015). This trend towards managerialism can be perceived as a lack of trust in the academic community. However, the rationale behind managerialism is to foster a performative culture among members of staff, as universities need to respond to increased competitive pressures for resources, competences and capabilities (Decramer et al., 2013; Marginson, 2006; 2001; Enders, 2004). These issues have changed the HEIs’ academic cultures and norms in an unprecedented way (Chou and Chan, 2016; Marginson, 2013).

HEIs have resorted to the utilization of measures and key performance indicators to improve their global visibility. Their intention is to raise their institutions’ profile by using metrics that measure productivity. Many universities have developed their own performance measures or followed frameworks that monitor the productivity of academic members of staff (Taylor and Baines, 2012). Very often, their objective is to audit their academic employees’ work. However, their work cannot always be quantified and measured in objective performance evaluations. For instance, Waring (2013) argued that academic employees are expected to comply with their employers’ performance appraisals (PAs) and their form-filling exercises. The rationale behind the use of PAs is to measure the employees’ productivity in the form of quantifiable performance criteria. Hence, the PA is deemed as a vital element for the evaluation of the employees’ performance (Kivistö et al., 2017; Dilts et al., 1994). The PA can be used as part of a holistic performance management approach that measures the academics’ teaching, research and outreach. This performance management tool can possibly determine the employees’ retention, promotion, tenure as well as salary increments (Subbaye, 2018; Ramsden, 1991).

Therefore, PAs ought to be clear and fair. Their administration should involve consistent, rational procedures that make use of appropriate standards. The management’s evaluation of the employees’ performance should be based on tangible evidence. In a similar vein, the employees need to be informed of what is expected from them (Dilts et al., 1994). They should also be knowledgeable about due processes for appeal arising from adverse evaluations, as well as on grievance procedures, if any (Author, 2018). In recent years; the value of the annual performance appraisals (PAs) has increasingly been challenged in favor of more regular ‘performance conversations’ (Aguinis, 2013; Herdlein, Kukemelk and Türk, 2008). Therefore, regular performance feedback or the frequent appraisal of employees still remain a crucial aspect of the performance management cycle. Pace (2015) reported that the PA was used to develop the employees’ skills, rather than for administrative decisions. In a similar vein, the University of Texas (2019) HR page suggests that the appraisers’ role is “to set expectations, gather data, and provide ongoing feedback to employees, to assist them in utilizing their skills, expertise and ideas in a way that produces results”. However, a thorough literature review suggests that there are diverging views among academia and practitioners on the role of the annual PA, the form it should take, and on its effectiveness in the realms of higher education (Herdlein et al., 2008; DeNisi and Pritchard, 2006).

The Performance Management Frameworks

The HEIs’ evaluative systems may include an analysis of the respective universities’ stated intentions, peer opinions, government norms and comparisons, primary procedures from ‘self-evaluation’ through external peer review. These metrics can be drawn from published indicators and ratings, among other frameworks (Billing, 2004).  Their performance evaluations can be either internally or externally driven (Cappiello and Pedrini, 2017). The internally driven appraisal systems put more emphasis on self-evaluation and self-regulatory activities (Baxter, 2017; Bednall, Sanders and Runhaar, 2014; Dilts et al., 1994). Alternatively, the externally driven evaluative frameworks may involve appraisal interviews that assess the quality of the employees’ performance in relation to pre-established criteria (DeNisi and Pritchard, 2006; Cederblom, 1982).

Many countries, including the European Union (EU) states have passed relevant legislation, regulatory standards and guidelines for the HEIs’ quality assurance (Baxter, 2017), and for the performance evaluations of their members of staff (Kohoutek et al., 2018; Cardoso et al., 2015; Bleiklie, 2001). Of course, the academic employees’ performance is usually evaluated against their employers’ priorities, commitments, and aims; by using relevant international benchmarks and targets (Lo, 2009). The academics are usually appraised on their research impact, teaching activities and outreach (QS Ranking, 2019; THE, 2019). Their academic services, including their teaching resources, administrative support, and research output all serve as performance indicators that can contribute to the reputation and standing of the HEI that employs them (Geuna and Martin, 2003).

Notwithstanding, several universities have restructured their faculties and departments to enhance their research capabilities. Their intention is to improve their institutional performance in global rankings (Lo, 2014). Therefore, HEIs recruit academics who are prolific authors that publish high-impact research with numerous citations in peer reviewed journals (Wood and Salt, 2018; Author, 2018). They may prefer researchers with scientific or quantitative backgrounds, regardless of their teaching experience (Chou and Chan, 2016). These universities are prioritizing research and promoting their academics’ publications to the detriment of university teaching. Thus, the academics’ contributions in key international journals is the predominant criterion that is used to judge the quality of academia (Billing, 2004). For this reason, the vast majority of scholars are using the English language as a vehicle to publish their research in reputable, high impact journals (Chou and Chan, 2016). Hence, the quantity and quality of their research ought to be evaluated through a number of criteria (Lo, 2014; 2011; Dill and Soo, 2005).

University ranking sites, including (THE) and the QS Rankings, among others, use performance indicators to classify and measure the quality and status of HEIs. This would involve the gathering and analysis of survey data from academic stakeholders. THE and QS, among others clearly define the measures, their relative weight, and the processes by which the quantitative data is collected (Dill and Soo, 2005). The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) relies on publication-focused indicators as 60 percent of its weighting is assigned to the respective university’s research output. Therefore, these university ranking exercises are surely affecting the policies, cultures and behaviors of HEIs and of their academics (Wood and Salt, 2018; De Cramer et al., 2013; Lo, 2013).  For instance, the performance indicators directly encourage the recruitment of international faculty and students. Other examples of quantitative metrics include the students’ enrolment ratios, graduate rates, student drop-out rates, the students’ continuation of studies at the next academic level, and the employability index of graduates, among others. Moreover, qualitative indicators can also provide insightful data on the students’ opinions and perceptions about their learning environment. The HEIs could evaluate the students’ satisfaction with teaching; satisfaction with research opportunities and training; perceptions of international and public engagement opportunities; ease of taking courses across boundaries, and may also determine whether there are administrative / bureaucratic barriers for them (Kivistö et al., 2017; Jauhiainen et al., 2015; Ramsden, 1991). Hence, HEIs ought to continuously re-examine their strategic priorities and initiatives. It is in their interest to regularly analyze their performance management frameworks through financial and non-financial indicators, in order to assess the productivity of their human resources. Therefore, they should regularly review educational programs and course curricula (Kohoutek et al., 2018; Brewer and Brewer, 2010). On a faculty level, the university leaders ought to keep a track record of changes in the size of departments; age and distribution of academic employees; diversity of students and staff, in terms of gender, race and ethnicity, et cetera. In addition, faculties could examine discipline-specific rankings; and determine the expenditures per academic member of staff, among other options (Author, 2018).

The balanced scorecard

The balanced scorecard (BSC) was first introduced by Kaplan and Norton (1992) in their highly cited article, entitled “The Balanced Scorecard: Measures that Drive Performance”. BSC is an integrated results-oriented, performance management tool, consisting of financial and non-financial measures that link the organizations’ mission, core values, and vision for the future with strategies, targets, and initiatives that are designed to bring continuous improvements (Taylor and Baines, 2012; Wu, Lin and Chang, 2011; Beard, 2009; Umashankar and Dutta, 2007; Cullen, Joyce, Hassall and Broadbent, 2003; Kaplan and Norton, 1992). Its four performance indicators play an important role in translating strategy into action; and can be utilized to evaluate the performance of HEIs. BSC provides a balanced performance management system as it comprises a set of performance indices that can assess different organizational perspectives (Taylor and Baines, 2012). For BSC, the financial perspective is a core performance measure. However, the other three perspectives namely: customer (or stakeholder), organizational capacity and internal process ought to be considered in the performance evaluations of HEIs, as reported in the following table:

BSC Higher Education

The balanced scorecard approach in higher education

Cullen et al. (2003) suggested that the UK’s Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SHEFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), as well as the Department for Employment and Learning (DELNI) have incorporated the BSC’s targets in their Research Excellence Framework. Furthermore, other HEI targets, including: the students’ completion rates, the research impact of universities, collaborative partnerships with business and industry, among others, are key metrics that are increasingly being used in international benchmarking exercises, like the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), among others. Moreover, BSC can be used to measure the academic employees’ commitment towards their employer (Umashankar and Dutta, 2007; McKenzie, and Schweitzer, 2001). Notwithstanding, Wu, Lin and Chang (2011) contended that the BSC’s ‘‘organizational capacity’’ is related to the employee development, innovation and learning. Hence the measurement of the HEIs’ intangible assets, including their intellectual capital is affected by other perspectives, including the financial one (Taylor and Baines, 2012). This table summarizes some of the strengths and weaknesses of the balanced scorecard.


BSC is widely used to appraise the financial and non-financial performance of businesses and public service organizations including HEIs. Many HEI leaders are increasingly following business-like approaches as they are expected to operate in a quasi-market environment (Marginson, 2013). They need to scan their macro environment to be knowledgeable about the opportunities and threats from the political, economic, social and technological factors. Moreover, they have to regularly analyze their microenvironment by evaluating their strengths and weaknesses.  Hence, several HEIs are increasingly appraising their employees as they assess their performance on a regular basis. They may even decide to take remedial actions when necessary.  Therefore, BSC can also be employed by HEIs to improve their academic employees’ productivity levels (Marginson, 2013; 2000).

A pre-publication version of the full article is available through ResearchGate and

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Filed under academia, Balanced Scorecard, Education, Education Leadership, Higher Education, Human Resources, human resources management, performance appraisals, performance management, University Ranking, webometrics