Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: An exploration of people's experiences of the performance measurement process in social enterprises
Author: Beer, Haley
ISNI:       0000 0004 6351 2425
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Performance measurement (PM) is the process of attributing value to organizational phenomena such as people, resources, and activities. Over the past two decades, research on PM has shifted from defining the measurement process and designing measurement tools to understanding the implications of the process. However, more research is needed, particularly to illuminate the intricacies between people and performance measurement. This study therefore adopts a social constructionist approach to explore individuals’ subjective responses to the measurement process in social enterprises. Social enterprises offer a rich context because of the complexity of stakeholders who contribute to the definition, financing, and accomplishment of performance, and the requirement to evidence the social, in addition to the financial, outcomes of their work. It is assumed that what is important to the measurement process is how it shapes individuals’ experiences of the organization, the meanings allocated to organizational phenomena, and relationships with others. A naturalistic multiple case study methodology is adopted to investigate the lived experiences of individuals involved in measurement processes. Semi-structured interviews, observations, and documentary analysis are conducted to collect data, which is then triangulated into thick descriptions of people’s uses of PM. The various measurement mechanisms utilized (e.g., key performance indicators, social value measurement tools, meetings, and funder reports) are found to be associated to particular meanings (e.g., social welfare, commercial, or public sector logics), and people’s uses of the mechanisms found to involve an individual level interpretation. This interpretation will depend upon where in the organization an individual is located, the beliefs the individual has in relation to the object being measured (i.e., the measurand), and furthermore affect their emotions and attitudes. The measurement process is therefore characterized as an experiential one, and its results found to depend not only on the structure of the practice (e.g., formal or informal), but on the subjective elements implicated (i.e., symbols, meanings, and beliefs of individuals involved in the measurement process and measurands). Three themes are elaborated which elucidate how and why people respond in multiple ways to performance measurement. Firstly, measurement is a multi-tiered process which occurs at an organizational and individual level simultaneously; therefore, measurement designed to be aligned solely with organizational strategy is insufficient to guarantee a positive response. Secondly, measurement generates an array of responses due to the (mis)alignment between type of properties measured by a measurement mechanism (e.g., cost, quantity, quality, efficiency) and what people view as important. As measurement mechanisms carry particular meanings, the properties of objects which are measured (and then communicated or discussed) do not always align with what individual’s interacting with the measurement process see as important in relation to the measurand. Three overarching responses are uncovered: 1) reinforcement (alignment of the measured property and the individual’s beliefs: positive response in the form of motivation and engagement); 2) reconcilement (mediated alignment of the measured properties across multiple people’s beliefs): positive response through coordination and collaboration; and 3) inhibition (misalignment of the measured property and an individual’s beliefs): negative response through negative emotions and wasted resources. Finally, the conditions which lead to positive experiences of measurement are investigated in-depth and explained by a new concept: personally powered performance. Ultimately, when people’s beliefs are aligned with what the measurement mechanism captures, this activates a personal level of interest and energy within the individual throughout the measurement process, thereby enhancing their experience of performing. This activation of personal power is expressed through positive emotions, strengthened relationships, motivation for goal achievement, and better organizational performance. Theoretically, this research proposes that a subject be invoked into the theory of performance measurement by highlighting that the process is not only about organizations understanding performance, but also about how people value and understand their own experience of performing towards organizational aims. For social value measurement processes this is especially important, as the measured object typically concerns the subjective wellbeing of beneficiaries. Understanding the ways in which measurement enhances people’s capacities to understand themselves, others, and organizations in more meaningful ways is central to ensuring the measurement process has beneficial effects.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor