Performance measurement and management at the operational level
This thesis describes an empirical investigation of performance measurement management at the operational level of five organizations, ranging in size from annual revenues of under US$100 million to over US$8 billion. In attempting to identify what advice there is for operational level managers, the literature review revealed that much of the existing research does not specifically address the operational level and does not consider the distinct characteristics of the operational level. An additional literature review identified that the operational level characteristics include a real-time, short-term focus, having many brief and fragmented activities and being frequently interrupted. An empirical investigation was undertaken to investigate the characteristics of the operational level and to identify how managers at this level manage the performance of their groups. The empirical data revealed that operational level characteristics identified in the literature were valid for the participants. In particular, the participating operational level managers face severe time constraints and are responsible for as many as 75 activities at one time, all of which require objectives and measures. The conclusion drawn was that any method used to develop objectives and measures by the participating operational level managers would be used many times and should be simpler and quicker to use than those methods described in the literature. The most thorough method described in the literature was identified and selected as the basis for a set of guidelines, which was then evaluated by the participants. The conclusions from the evaluation were that the guidelines are correct, in principle, but were still not simple enough to be used by the participants. The fmdings of this research can only be said to be valid for the participants, however, the author believes that they may be more widely applicable. Further research is needed to determine how widely the findings might apply.