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The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action Hardcover – September 1, 1996

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The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action + The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment + Strategy Maps: Converting Intangible Assets into Tangible Outcomes
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (September 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780875846514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875846514
  • ASIN: 0875846513
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As running a corporate?or government or not-for-profit?enterprise becomes increasingly complicated, more sophisticated approaches are needed to implement strategy and measure performance. Purely financial evaluations of performance, for example, no longer suffice in a world where intangible assets?relationships and capabilities?increasingly determine the prospects for success. Kaplan, a Harvard Business School professor of accounting, and Norton, president of Renaissance Solutions, make a key contribution by describing and illustrating the balanced scorecard, a multidimensional approach to measuring corporate performance that incorporates both financial and non-financial factors. The concept of a balanced scorecard originated in a study group of 12 companies that met throughout 1990; since then, the authors have worked with several companies, including FMC Corporation, Brown & Root Energy Services, Mobil and CIGNA, to create scorecards and use them as a systematic means to implement new organizational strategy. Though still in the preliminary stages of development, balanced scorecards could represent the emergence of a new era of management sophistication, in which both the hard and soft variables of work life are taken into account in a rigorous, testable fashion. Kaplan and Norton provide an excellent, though dry, introduction to a new methodology of management.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Kaplan (accounting, Harvard) and Norton, president of Renaissance Solutions Inc., created the "balanced scorecard" to assist businesses in moving from ideas to action, achieving long-term goals, and obtaining feedback about strategy. The balanced scorecard consists of four sections: clarifying and translating vision and strategy; communicating and linking strategic objectives and measures; planning, setting targets, and aligning strategic initiatives; and enhancing strategic feedback and learning. Because the writing is technically oriented and somewhat detailed, this work is geared toward scholars and high-level business planners. However, its clear organization makes reading and understanding the concepts much easier. Recommended for upper-level and graduate business students and senior practitioners in the strategic-planning field.?Randy Abbott, Univ. of Evansville Libs., Ind.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

This is one of those books, you can read and get "aha's" from start to finish.
This outstanding book is recommended to managers at all levels of an organisation, as well as business management students and strategy consultants.
Elijah Chingosho
The Balanced Scorecard is the first, most important, and most influential of Kaplan and Norton's books on the implementation of strategic planning.
J. M Heumann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

120 of 123 people found the following review helpful By Zossima on January 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Kaplan and Norton are the visionaries behind the Balanced Scorecard (BSc), and this is their first book on the subject. BSc as Kaplan and Norton conceived of it was focused on measurement, specifically measuring variables that had some linkage to corporate financial results so that the direction of the organization could be determined prior to the occurrence of a bad quarter or two. THE MEASURES OF ANY MANAGEMENT CONCEPT ARE ITS ADOPTION AND ITS STAYING POWER, AND KAPLAN AND NORTON'S BSc IS AN OVERWHELMING SUCCESS.
BUT companies that enacted BSc's started to tie them to corporate strategies, making them strategic management tools and not just measurement tools. One of the advancements was to tie define measures that measured the success of strategic intent as defined by specific objectives and goals. Another was to create cause and effect maps of the objectives, called "strategy maps."
Measurement is, of course, still an important part of the BSc, but the process of determining what to measure begins higher up the strategic ladder. KAPLAN AND NORTON THEMSELVES CHRONICLE THE GROWTH OF BSc INTO A STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT TOOL IN THEIR SUBSEQUENT WORK.
So, this book is a bit outdated, though it is still a useful introduction. However, I recommend that you try:
* Strategy Maps: Converting Intangible Assets into Tangible Outcomes by Kaplan and Norton
* The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment, also by Kaplan and Norton
* Balanced Scorecard Step-by-Step: Maximizing Performance and Maintaining Results by Paul R. Niven
And a good introductory article to the idea of strategy mapping is "Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System", a Harvard Business Review article by Kaplan and Norton that is also available on Amazon.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Michael Gering on May 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Many organizations are in the process of implementing the `Balanced Scorecard', yet some are struggling. Either they fail to implement the measures, or the measures fail to have the expected impact.
Organizations execute four 'mission critical' activities, for a scorecard to succeed. Each is more difficult than might appear and must be performed by a different part of the organization.
1. Articulating the strategy: Top management must articulate and disseminate the strategy. More than measuring success, a performance system communicates a strategy. Without a strategy, the performance measures become an `anything goes' exercise. `Anything goes in theory' means that `everything stays in practice'.
2. Designing the measures: A core task team must design the measures to avoid uneconomic behavior. Poorly thought out measures create counter productive activity.
3. Operationalizing the measures: Once measures are defined, programmers operationalize and automate them.
Even revenue can be complicated in practice: When is it recorded, and what does it include. The task team may well find themselves getting what they asked for, and not what they wanted.
4. Getting the buy-in: Change management skills are needed to align the changes and create buy in. Dilbert cynically states that there are two steps to a great performance measurement system. 1) Gather information and 2) ignore it. For performance measurement to work, the system must be accepted, understood, and aligned to the reward.
The book, `The Balanced Scorecard' by Kaplan and Norton has become compulsory reading for middle management. It is very good, with the one weakness that it makes performance measurement look deceptively simple.
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Format: Hardcover
The Balanced Scorecard looks at the important issues of alignment, coordination, and effective implementation. Most business thinkers like to start with the big picture, and end there. As a result, most ideas for going in a new direction are quickly diluted by misunderstanding, falling back on old habits, and lethargy. Since Peter Drucker first popularized the idea of business strategy, there have been vastly more strategies conceived than there have been strategies successfully implemented as a result. Much attention has been paid to devising better strategies in the last four decades, and little to implementing strategies. The big pay-off is in the implementation, and The Balanced Scorecard is one of handful of books that provide important and valuable guidance to explain what needs to be done to successfully execute strategy. You must have more measures, and different measures than the accounting system provides. You also need to link measures and compensation to the key tasks that each person must perform. This book is simply the Rosetta Stone of communicating and managing strategy. The Balanced Scorecard is the beginning of the practical period of maturity in the field of business strategy. Read this book today to enjoy much more prosperity! I also recommend that you read The Fifth Discipline, The Fifth Discipline Handbook, and The Dance of Change to understand more about the context in which you are trying to make positive change. These four books are excellent companions for each other.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book when it was first published (1996) and recently re-read it. As Kaplan and Norton explain in their Preface, "the Balanced Scorecard evolved from an improved measurement system to an improved management system." The distinction is critically important to understanding this book as well as The Strategy-Focused Organization which they later wrote. Senior executives in various companies have used the Balanced Scorecard as the central organizing framework for important managerial processes such as individual and team goal setting, compensation, resource allocation, budgeting and planning, and strategic feedback and learning. When writing this book, it was the authors' hope that the observations they share would help more executives to launch and implement Balanced Scorecard programs in their organizations.
The material is organized within two Parts, preceded by the excellent Preface and then two introductory chapters: "Measurement and Management in the Information Age" and "Why Does Business Need a Balanced Scorecard?" Logically, Part One examines measurement of business strategy; Part Two examines management of business strategy. Having read all of the 12 chapters, each concluded with a Summary of key points, readers are then provided with an Appendix: "Building a Balanced Scorecard.
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