Magoosh GRE

The influence of performance measurement strategies in organizations

| March 12, 2015

1. INTRODUCTION
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1.1Background

The Co-operative Group, or “Co-op” as it is commonly known, is a leading international consumer co-operative that, in 2005, boasted more than £1 billion in assets and £7 billion in revenue. While a strong world-wide presence, the company’s headquarters are situated in Manchester, UK.

The Co-op primarily operates within the food retail industry but also offers services in insurance, business, travel, pharmacy and even agricultural services.

The Co-operative is also the parent organization for the Co-operative Financial Services (CFS), of which CIS (Co-operative Insurance Society) and The Co-operative Bank plc are operating subsidiaries.
This case study will work with a retail branch of the co-operative that is located in Northampton.

1.2 Performance measurement

The concept of “performance measurement” is widely discussed, although an acute definition of the topic remains elusive. It has been defined by Neely, Gregory and Platts (2005) as “the process of quantifying action, where measurement is the process of quantification and action leads to performance.”

It is widely accepted that performance measures are a fundamental aspect of Total Quality Management programs. All operations need some kind of performance measurement as a prerequisite for improvement are important in assessing the abilities of managers and supervisors who are responsible for knowing how, when, and where to apply a variety of changes which cannot be implemented without having any knowledge of the suitable information that is required.

Currently, an organization’s performance is judged to be “good”, “bad” or “indifferent”.

1.3 Learning objectives

Recently, performance measurement has come under much scrutiny from a range of academics, practitioners, consultants and policy makers. Indeed, thousands of companies have invested their time and wealth into constructing and apply effective performance measurement systems.

However, despite all of this investment, very little empirical research has been put towards discovering the answer to key questions such as “what impact do performance measurement systems have on the way that organizations are managed and how can organizations maximize the positive impact of such systems?”

This study looks to investigate the influence of performance measurement strategies in organizations, as well as how they are implemented in these institutions. The research will look to identify a suitable performance measurement technique that could be applied to the Co-operative Group Ltd. By identifying a suitable approach for continuous improvement, I intend to propose a performance model that can facilitate the building upon the Co-op’s current organisational strengths to improve their overall performance.
I aim to underline the significance of performance measurement techniques in building for the Co-operative Group’s future, especially with regards to the ever-increasing level of competition in the industry.
1.4 Research Questions
These are the questions that will be at the heart of my study:
 “Why is Performance measurement important to measure performance of a company or an organisation?”
 “What are the different tools or techniques to measure performance?”
 “Which are the different performance measures?”
 “What are the Performance measurement in The Co-operative?”
 “What is the importance of performance measurement in retail industry?”
 “What are the Techniques currently used by Co-operative to measure the performance of their employees?”
 “What are the techniques currently used by the Co-operative in Northampton?”
 “Which are the best available techniques?”
 “Which techniques company should use to measure its performance?”
 “What would I therefore recommend as the best method of implementation of the chosen techniques?”

1.5 Adoption of learning objective idea

The reason I have chosen to study the retail branch of the Co-operative in Northampton is because I have worked there for several years. This has provided me with a valuable insight into the performance of the store, and have enjoyed seeing it perform very well in relation to its competitors.

However, I do believe that I discovered a particular area in which the retail store is not performing to its maximum potential; and that is with regards to the use of good performance measurement systems.

While there is some form of performance measurement in place, I do not believe that it is fully effective.

It is for this reason that I began researching this topic. My managers at the Northampton Co-operative retail store have been incredibly helpful with my research.
1.6 Design of Research

The research design provides the spine of the research; it is what structures the research, and displays the way the key areas of research interlink and interact. This is a fundamental part of addressing the core research questions.

My proposed research design is as follows:
1. Provide an introduction to Performance measurement.
2. Explained effective measurement techniques
3. Provide an introduction to Co-operative group, their businesses and their business strategy.
4. Examine the measurement system currently used in the retail Co-op in Northampton.

For me to fully investigate the subject of performance measurements, I have split this study into several chapters. The structure of these chapters is as follows:

1. Introduction: this offers an introduction to whole dissertation.
2. Literature review: In this chapter I have covered the relevant literature to understand the meaning of Performance measurement, its importance and its related theory. I have also explained that which techniques the company is using at present.
3. Methodology: how I undertook my dissertation. This will provide the way, procedures/processes that I have adopted to achieve the required aim.
4. Data analysis and evaluation: In this chapter I have discussed the questionnaire and interviews, their working procedures. The results of questionnaire and interviews are discussed in evaluation.
5. Conclusion of study
1.7 Scope of Research

This research will look to relate to the various performance measurement techniques, such as the significance of these techniques upon an organization, as well as the effectiveness of each individual measurement strategy. I believe that these findings will help me to build a fuller idea of the influence of these measurement techniques upon an organization
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More practically, my findings shall help Co-operative’s management team to identify the potential sources of inefficiency in the area of measurement of their employee’s performance.
Literature Review
2. Literature Review
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This section will look to analyze and explore the various pieces of literature that surround performance measurement.
While a fairly recent topic, performance measurement has seen a large boom in volume of literature which examines and explains the concept.
Performance measurement is widely described to be the process of consistently recording the various outputs and outcomes produced by different programs. It is an effective tool that permits a company to track both the level of and impact of a particularly type of work upon program beneficiaries.

The majority of these literary sources share the consensus that a successful organization will apply performance measurement to every aspect of their industry – from manufacturing to customer service – which is all dependant on the way in which the company makes use of critical data.

Performance measurement is undeniably a very helpful device when used to manage various organizational programs. For example, it aids the tracking of the progress of a program towards larger overall goals, as well as helping to identify areas of strength or weaknesses. Indeed, it is for these reasons that Project Star (2003) state that “program staff and participants should be actively involved in performance measurement activities to track outputs and outcomes.”
The fundamental need for this type of measurement program is to attain accurate feedback with regards to a company’s objectives, which overall improves that company’s likelihood of reaching those objectives in the best way.

Kotelnikov (2005) explains that “if an organization is successful in measuring its performance correctly, the data generated will show that where this company is, how is it doing, and where is it going.” Therefore, the ultimate target for implementing a performance measurement system is to develop the overall performance of an organization.

Many of the writers on performance measurement state the implementation of this concept for a specific process requires a vast amount of “cognizant employees” to stimulate ideas and strengthen the concept that it is a team effort (Kotelnikov, 2005).

These writers also comment that there were “substantial benefits” which were realized by companies who implemented performance measurement programs (Project Star, 2003). It is observed that every staff member appreciates the advantages of these systems, although an improved understanding of performance measurement could benefit a company. In addition to this, employees will be provided a chance to receive a broadened perspective of a company’s functions.

Therefore it can be established that performance measurement is a “positive appraisal system” which can be used to make sure that a company or individual is fulfilling pre-set goals or aims. It is also facilitates that should it be found that these goals are not being reached, then remedial action can be taken to make sure that they will be corrected. Overall, then, performance measurement can be seen as a “means of supporting the organization or individual and not a means of seeking fault with them” (Lewin, 1997).
2.1 Significance of Performance measurement

J.F Koonce (1999) states that performance measurement is crucial to companies because it “improves products and services, improves communication, helps justify programs and their costs and it helps to demonstrate Stewardship.” Performance measurement, therefore, can be widely applied to evaluate just how effectively a person or a company has performed against pre-set objectives

Performance measurement offers managers an effective way to gather data about the way that various resources and efforts are being used, as well as how best to use them. It is also an effective system which ties in program partners whose focus is also towards the main objectives of a program. Lastly, performance measurement supports the development and justification of any budget proposals through the indicating of the ways it helps taxpayers, as well as providing several other benefits.

Essentially, performance measurement can be defined as the use of statistical evidence to determine a company’s progress toward a specific goals or objectives. This can include providing evidence of actual fact – such as the measurement of pavement surface smoothness – and measurements of client perceptions – such as what could be achieved via a customer satisfaction survey.

Performance measurement begins by outlining any services that a company promises to offer. It then provides data to the company’s managers regarding just how effectively and efficiently these services are being delivered. Thus, performance measurement “should reflect the satisfaction of the transportation service user, in addition to those concerns of the system owner or operator” (Neely, 2002).

Although this data which is supplied via performance measurement is only a small aspect of the data which managers or policy makers in organizations require to make well-informed decisions. Performance measurement, therefore, has to be partnered with evaluation information to develop the manager’s comprehension as to why particular results occur, and in what ways do these programs bring value to an organization or its processes.

However, performance measurement is unable to replace information regarding program expenses, political judgments about priorities, creativity about solutions, or general “common sense”. It is for these reasons that performance measurement is widely used to raise essential questions and answers which the programs are unable to provide alone. For example, if employees are aware that they aren’t being assessed then they may take the choice to do less work, take their remuneration, or not participate constructively towards a company’s goals. All of these attitudes and actions generate a negative effect on a company, and will also likely mean that the company will lose the skills and knowledge of these employees, and also any customers who could experience indifferent customer service.

Alternatively, if employees are conscious that they must reach certain objectives, this can add motivation to deliver a higher standard of work as well as to provide better quality customer service.

As long as the standards which are used are considered to be fair, and reward systems are tied in with the staff reaching their goals, then employees will look to reach the objectives. Consequently, a company can fully benefit from making use of the abilities and intellect of staff and customers can benefit from the more motivated employees.

2.2 Characteristics of Good performance goals

It is important to observe that the characteristics of “good” performance measurement objectives should include the following:
• “Quality over quantity”: Performance measurement objectives must be relevant to the overall program objective and towards the overall outcome of what the program is intended to achieve. This postulates the importance of having a select few, but high standard, measures. However, it should be noted that programs must not feel compelled to collapse complex activities to a single measure for these ends, especially if that measure is a proxy for the true objective.
• “Importance to budget decisions”: Performance measurement objects which are included in the PART must supply data which aids and facilitates good budget decisions. Agencies may sustain additional performance measurement aims to develop a programs overall management, but these do not need to be included in the PART.
• “Public clarity”: performance measurement aims must be understandable to users who are utilising what is being measured. Companies should internally and externally publicize what they are measuring to helps these program partners comprehend the expectations of a particular program.
• “Feasibility”: performance measurement goals must be feasible, yet “not the path of least resistance.” Selecting performance measurement aims based on their relevance to the outcomes, and not for additional reasons. Where necessary, businesses can terminate “less useful” information to help fund more useful ones.
• “Collaboration”: agencies and their partners have to work together and not fight over their “turf” (www.whitehouse.gov). When implemented properly, Performance measures can drive greater accountability, visibility, and transparency. This is because these measures offers managers and executives an effective tool to assess an organization’s progress, but can also be used to motivate set, “set direction for the organization, and encourage alignment from top to bottom” (www.army.mil).

2.3 Performance Measurement Objectives
Various writers on performance measurement have come to categorize the range of performance indicators as follows:
• Quality
Feigenbaum (1961) famously states that “traditionally quality has been defined in terms of conformance to specification and explains that quality-based measurements tend to focus on issues such as the volume of produced defects or the cost of quality. Feigenbaum (1961) was also the first observer to suggest that “the true cost of quality is a function of the prevention, appraisal and failure costs.”
Elsewhere, Campanella and Corcoran (1983) explain that the cost of “quality is a measure of the extra cost incurred by the company due to it either under- or over-performing […] it is commonly argued that this can be as much as 20 per cent of net sales.”
• Time
Galloway and Waldron (1988) developed a “time-based costing system” known as “throughput accounting”; this is important because manufacturing units exist as an integrated whole, whose short term operating expenses are largely predetermined. Therefore it is more helpful and effective to be aware of the cost in its entirety as fixed, excluding material, which is known as the “total factory cost”. Galloway and Waldron (1988) also stated that “profit is a function of the time taken to respond to the needs of the market.”
Thus, profitability can be defined as “the rate at which a product produces money which determines its relative product profitability and this compared to the rate at which the factory spends it that determines absolute profitability” (Galloway and Waldron, 1988).
• Cost
Kaplan (1984) explains that cost is “one of the most important performance measurement objectives” and explains that this is because direct labor has reduced as an overall percentage of the total expenses for manufacturing organizations, yet “it is still by far the most common basis of loading overheads onto products.” Overhead functions – product design, quality control, customer service, production planning and sales order processing – are essential to clients as are all physical processes provided by an organization.
As a consequence “complexity has increased. Production processes are more complex; product ranges wider, product life cycles shorter, quality higher. The marketplace is more competitive” (Kaplan, 1984).
• Flexibility
Slack (1987) observes range, cost and time to be the dimensions of flexibility; however, he then alters this model to only accommodate range and response, where range refers to “the issue of how far the manufacturing system can change” and response “focuses on the question of how rapidly and cheaply it can change.”
A potential raw measurement for the flexibility of a changeover could be the amount of component substitutions made, over a certain time. Gustavsson (1984) proposed an approach whereby the organization calculates “the ratio of the equipment investment relevant for the next product to the total investment.”
Gustavsson (1984) states that volume flexibility” needs to be considered at the aggregate level as well as at the level of individual components […] Flexibility can be measured in terms of the average volume fluctuations that occur over a given time period divided by the capacity.”
2.4 Tools for measuring performance

There exists a wide variety of tools which can be used to measure performance, I will now examine and explain a selection of what I consider to be the most effective tools for measuring business performance:

2.4.1 Balance scorecard
Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is a management and measurement tool which facilitates the clarification of an organization’s vision and strategy, and helps to translate this into actuality. BSC also supplies feedback around “the internal business processes and external outcomes in order to continuously improve strategic performance and results” (Arveson, 1998).
Implementing a Balanced Scorecard system into a company is not a straightforward, although vastly rewarding, process. It is important then when implementing this tool; the company outlines an explicit vision for the Balanced Scorecard, which will aid the transition of getting all the staff up-to-speed with the tool. In fact, it is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of implementing Balanced Scorecards – is that companies do not clearly establish a long-term vision or philosophy. Arveson (1998) explains that a Balanced Scorecard philosophy is “simply a clear statement that describes what the Balanced Scorecard will look like, how it will operate, how it will be built, and how the organization will use it.”
Elsewhere, to make sure that the company is successfully implementing Balanced Scorecards it is very important that the company is sure to establish a “Balanced Scorecard philosophy” very early on in the development and implementation of the tool. By doing this, the company can make sure that the consensus between implementation of the Balanced Scorecard team-members, management, and the company is effective and efficient, both in the present and in the future.
Averson (1998) also explains that “in order to survive and prosper in today’s world, companies can no longer manage using financial measures alone.” This means that organizations must track the various non-financial measures, such as “speed of response” and “product quality”, externally focused measures such as “customer satisfaction” and “brand preference”, and forward looking measures such as “idea management” and “employee satisfaction”.
Overall, BSC methodology helps to translate a company’s strategy into action. By implementing a BSC approach can allow managers to outline all the essential perspectives and objectives which will motivate the staff and deliver the best results, and how to measure them (Kaplan and Norton, 1992). BSC allows organizations to align various strategies and units to the overall organizational strategy through the linking of certain deliverables to key perspectives to deliver the best results. Overall, then, the balanced scorecard system provides a “clear understanding of the company strategy, and how it is supported by the commitment to objectives from various divisions and functional units of the organization” (Averson, 1998).
Advantages of BSC
• BSC supplies a framework that allows an organisation to focus on particular perspectives which will, in turn, generate success and provides a framework to assess performance against targets.
• It can help to align essential performance measures with this strategy across all levels of a company.
• Provides manages with a comprehensive view of overall business goals and strategies at all levels
The balanced scorecard forces managers to look at the business from four important perspectives. The Balanced Scorecard is an important tool strategic management system as it provides “performance measurements within a framework of strategic hypotheses that enable to learn what works best in an organization” (www.2gc.co.uk).

(Kaplan and Norton, 1992)
Framework for creating a Set of Measures
Balanced Scorecard systems offer a framework for designing an array of measures for activities that can be utilized by companies as the main drivers of their business. It is a system that “promotes a more holistic balanced view of any organization by having four distinct perspectives; i.e. financial, customer, internal process and innovation and learning” (Bourne & Bourne, 2000). Thus, through the creation of their own measures using these headings, it would be difficult for a company to miss any areas of particular importance. However, it must be noted that a lot of the success of BSC is dependent on the way in which measures are agreed, the way that they are implemented and the way in which the organization applies them; “the process of designing the scorecard is just as important as the scorecard itself” (Bourne & Bourne, 2000).

2.4.2 Benchmarking

There are many varying definitions for benchmarking, but essentially it is a process which involves learning, sharing information and adopting best practices to bring about step changes in performance. In short, benchmarking can be defined as an approach of “continuously measuring products, services, and practices against tough standards set by competitors or renowned leaders in the field”, or at its simplest, it means “improving ourselves by learning from others” (www.benchmarking.gov.uk). The performance levels of other companies are known as “benchmarks”; the ideal benchmark stems from a company that is acknowledged as being a global leader in their respective industry area.
The process of benchmarking encompasses comparing a particular organization’s performance against that of another. This is a process which allows a company to clarify exactly where they are in relation to any competitors and can also help them to identify the processes which are especially essential to their industry. It is, therefore, a key technique which can be used “to help companies become as good as or better than the best in the world in the most important aspects of their operations” (www.mas.dti.gov.uk).

Benchmarking involves systematic identifying and implementing of “best” practices. Numerous experts divide benchmarking into a variety of types, which are as follows:
• “Internal Benchmarking”: this process contrasts the common processes amongst diverse functions within a single organization
• “Competitive Benchmarking”: this examines direct competitors and their processes, to measure levels of customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, and market share. This information then indicates what customers’ value most about an organization’s products or services as well as their opinion as to if they believe an organization is profiting, doing well, or providing a suitable service/product. This strategy can also be used to assess any potential candidates for mergers and acquisitions.
• “Functional Benchmarking”: this focuses on processes as well as the organizations that use similar processes, regardless of their industry. This information can therefore be used to show a company’s “overall manufacturing strategy, training requirements, a plant’s scrap and rework cost, a plant’s warranty costs, and a plant’s on-time delivery rate” (Harry & Schroeder, 2000).
• “Performance benchmarking”: this is the comparison between the achieved performances across various operations. For example, “an organization might compare its own performance in terms of some or all of performance objectives- quality, speed, cost, dependability and flexibility- against other organizations’ performance in the same dimensions” (Slack et al., 1998).
• “Non-competitive benchmarking”: is “a benchmarking against external organizations, which do not compare directly in the same markets” (Slack et al., 1998).
 Benchmarking process
(Camp, 1995)
2.4.3 Performance Matrix
Slack (1994) identifies a crucial stage in the creation of these performance measurement strategies, as the “derivation of a ranked (or rated) list of competitive factors such as quality, flexibility, cost, etc.” These features are utilized either to infer an appropriate a set of operations decisions or to prioritize the competitive factors. This “Performance Matrix” can therefore be used to record a company’s performance, and primarily comprises nine-point importance and performance scales, as shown in this diagram:
“Order-winning objectives”:
(1) Provides a crucial advantage with customers – as “the main thrust of competitiveness” – thus, the attention falls upon the client’s requirements.
(2) Provides a significant advantage with most customers

car

(4) Needs to be at least at a good industry standard
(5) Needs to be around the median industry standard
(6) Needs to be within close range of the rest of the industry
“Less important” objectives:
(7) Does not typically come under the client’s consideration, but may become more influential in the future;
(8) Comes very rarely into client’s considerations
(9) Never comes into customer’s consideration and is never likely to
The “Nine-point Performance Scale”
These are the 9 important considerations that comprise the nine-point performance scale and can be used to show how, within this particular market sector, the company achieving the performance in every of the individual performance objectives:
“Better than competitors”:
(1) Consistently considerably better than our nearest competitor
(2) Consistently clearly better than our nearest competitor
(3) Marginally better than our nearest competitor
“The same as competitors”:
(4) Often marginally better than most competitors
(5) About the same as most competitors
(6) Often within striking distance of the main competitors
“Worse than competitors”:
(7) Usually marginally worse than most competitors;
(8) Usually worse than most competitors;
(9) Consistently worse than most competitors
(Slack, 1994).
2.4.4 Performance Appraisal:
Painter (1994) explains that a key performance measurement tool is “Performance appraisals”; which refers to “the annual meeting between manager and employee to review the performance of the latter over a specific period.” These usually involve reviewing the objectives which have been set within the previous year, in order to evaluate the way in which staff has performed against these targets. In view of this, the next year’s objectives are discussed and agreed upon. Within some appraisal systems used by organizations, there exists a relationship between an employee’s performance and a particular reward – in which the employee’s performance at work is assessed for pay review purposes.
Performance appraisal involves “the process of evaluating the performance and behaviour of individuals in the context of their specific positions of employment” (Painter, 1994). The behaviours analysed “should be tangible, objective components of the employee’s job and should not include subjective, evaluative statements that focus on personality and attitude” (Painter, 1994). Painter (1994) also states that “the primary objective of the appraisal must be the improvement of the individual and the institution, thereby creating a more positive working environment for all concerned.”
It is also cited by Painter (1994) that “the best performance reviews let managers and employees communicate — share ideas, opinions, and information. Unfortunately, most traditional reviews put managers into the position of uncomfortable judges, ostensibly telling employees how their work either fit the bill — or didn’t.” This means that most conventional reviews are “no better than the manager’s off-the-cuff judgements, and some may be illegal” (Painter, 1994).
As a performance measurement tool, performance appraisal has many supporters as well as critics. For example, many writers claim that performance appraisal is very beneficial to an organization as it is an effective means as to give staff comments and feedback on their work. According to ACAS (1997): “appraisal regularly records an assessment of an employee’s performance, potential and development needs. The appraisal is an opportunity to take an overall view of work content, loads and volume, to look back in what has been achieved during the reporting.”
2.4.5 Self assessment:
Self-reviews are founded on the concept that staff are those who are most familiar with their line of work, and as a result of this, their involvement is crucial.
Using this system, staff members rate themselves against a score for a number of criteria. This is typically carried out using a formal survey form, and may include the possibility of suggesting improvements. In studies carried out by Armstrong (1994), it was found that overall staff members were “surprisingly realistic in assessing their own performance, providing it does not link directly to a performance related pay.”
This system can be used to clarify a staff member’s own goals as well as to expose any particular areas of weakness, in order for them to be worked on. Within some organisations, the manager can be excluded from these assessments, although an exchange of opinions between the employee and their manager could help their working-relationship, as well as improve the employee’s understanding of their role in the organisation, and the organisations overall goals. According to Herbet Meyer (1991), involving the employee “as an equal in the review process” is more likely to increase commitment to action plans, “making the entire process both more satisfying and more productive”.
Also, Meyer (1991) observed that “self-review changes the role of the manager to counsellor, rather than judge – a role from which the manager can do more to support people.” He also added that self-review “enhances the subordinate’s dignity and self respect.”
Despite all of these positive aspects of this type of performance measurement, it should be noted that – as observed by Meyer (1991) – “people may not see their own deficiencies as others do”; thus, self-assessment must be used with other assessment methods.
2.4.6 Just in Time:
Taiichi ohno established the JIT (Just in Time) system at Toyota Motor Corporation. The JIT system can be summarised as, “all processes being performed just in time to accommodate the next process with no excess or waste” (www.toyota.com). It is a philosophy of continuous improvement “in which non-value-adding activities are identified and removed” (Pitcher, 2007).

Just in Time System
M. Pitcher (2007) explains the process of JIT as the following:
“The JIT approach begins with limiting inventory in the system using a two-bin kanban method. This prevents flooding of the shop floor with inventory. The result is shorter production cycle times and improved inventory control. Production planning centers efforts on takt time. Takt time is an estimate of how many units per hour must be processed at each work centre to meet market demand. The result is that production volumes are determined by the market rate of pull. Process improvement begins by reducing kanban size and monitoring collapsed inventory. Process improvement teams are then assigned to determine root cause and corrective action to prevent recurrence of problems.”
Pitcher (2007) also explains that this is a philosophy which looks at keeping batches to a minimum – producing several small batches on time instead of one large batch to cover several orders – and explains that this type of manufacturing enables the production of required items in necessary quantities at the necessary time (Pitcher, 2007). Applying JIT suggests a reversal of conventional thinking process as in each stage the user is required to go back to the previous stage to pick up the exact number of units needed, instead of looking forward.
D.C Hutchins (1999) explains that the idea of a JIT system in theory is totally acceptable, but the problem of putting it into practice though, “is particularly worrying when success is dependant on all parties, including suppliers and customers, working in perfect harmony.”
Elsewhere, it must be noted that “capacity planning” and “delivery on time” are also essential to the successful application of this theory. It is essential that all material parts are maintained and kept moving or else there could be stock handling charges. There is a conflict in the small batch production that of the set up charges linked to reordering. If all is not available to run JIT system efficiently, it is best forgotten, as the harm it can do to customer relations is vast if problem occur; “if successful this technique can be spread through the supply chain, hence adding value” (Hutchins, 1999).
I now intend to construct a comprehensive framework with which I can examine the appropriation of Performance Measurement tools within the company. I believe that my research will illustrate just how effective contemporary literature is at embracing the various issues surrounding the implementation of performance measurement.

2.5 The co-operative group

The Co-operative Group is a £5 billion turnover business with interests in food retail to financial services. The food retail division of the Co-op Group generates almost half of the entire annual turnover and, with over 1000 food stores nation-wide, also provides around 45000 jobs in the UK (www.morse.co.uk).

The Co-operative Group, the trading name of Co-operative Group Ltd, is a leading global consumer-owned business. The company was initially known as the Co-operative Wholesale Society Limited, although this name was changed in 2001as there was a transfer of engagements of Co-operative Retail Services to the Co-operative Wholesale Society.
2.5.1Businesses:
The Co-operative Group owns ¼ of the co-operative retail business in Britain, and has substantial shares in other industries – including funerals and pharmacy. In food retail, however, it can boast 5% of the British market, although this has reduced from 30% sixty years ago.
Food Retail
The Co-operative group has more than 1500 food retail stores across Britain. These stores can be categorized as “Welcome” convenience stores; “Market” Town small supermarkets; and “Superstores” full-scale supermarkets.
Finance and Travel services
Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) consists of the Co-operative Bank and the Co-operative Insurance Society. CFS operates Britain’s largest independent travel agency, “Travel care”; boasting as many as 400 branches and direct-sales via telephone/internet.
Funerals
Co-operative Funeral Services is Britain’s largest funeral director with over 400 branches.
Pharmacy
Co-operative Group Pharmacy Ltd is a leading pharmacy operator in Europe and has more than 250 branches in Britain.
Footwear
Shoefayre, which was formerly an independent footwear retailing companies, is now owned and managed by Co-operative Group, who has almost 300 high street footwear stores.
Farming
The Co-operative Society manages almost 90 000 acres of land across Britain under the Farmcare banner.
Property and Legal services
The Co-operative Society also boasts a property business which manages investment and trading properties.
Non-food retail
The Co-operative Society has sold the department stores of the former CWS estate. While CWS withdrew from the non-food market several years prior to the merger, the Co-op kept two stores open as trials of a new style of department store; however these stores were closed in 2006 (although there is still an internet business retailing electrical goods and designer beds).
2.5.2 History:
The Co-operative Group has formed over the span of 150 years, resulting from the merger of several independent retail societies and their wholesale societies and federations (www.co-op.co.uk). In 1843 the Rochdale “Pioneers” opened the first co-operative and then in 1863, the North of England Co-operative Society was launched. By 1872, this had taken on the title of “Co-operative Wholesale Society” (CWS).
By the end of the 20th century, CWS’s market share had decreased dramatically; provoking the response that the Co-op was no-longer a sustainable or viable business. These views had been instigated by the selling of CWS factories in 1994, and the controversy surrounding Andrew Regan’s £1.2 billion bid for the company in 1997. This move was surrounded by “carpet-bagging” accusations, with employees looking to make money, or commit fraud.
Regan’s bid was eventually beaten when 2 senior CWS executives were arrested and charged on account of fraud. While Regan was cleared of all charges; these events “recharged” CWS who, following Labour Government’s Co-operative commission, made significant insights towards the co-operative movement, including the organization and marketing of the retail societies. At the turn of the century, CWS merged with Co-operative Retail Services, Britain’s second largest society (Boards of Co-operative group, 2007).
In 2007, the Co-operative Society held discussions with United Co-operatives, who were Britain’s second-largest Co-operative, with regards to a proposed merger between the two societies. Currently, the Society is in the process of choosing whether to engage in transfer engagements with a Scottish Nith Valley Co-operative Society which “is suffering a burden with its pension fund commitments” (www.co-op.co.uk).
2.5.3Business Strategy
A.W Ulwick (1999) defines a business strategy as “a plan that describes what an organization proposes to do to achieve a stated mission.” The reason for these strategies is to improve and facilitate and the running of a successful organization and can take many forms, including: “company strategies, product and services strategies, HR strategies and strategies that drive operational, support and management process” (Ulwick, 1999).

The Co-operative Group Ltd is a group of businesses that provides a variety of services and products, and whose core values are “honesty”, “openness” and “social responsibility” (The co-operative group, 2005). The Co-operative Group Ltd strives to deliver high-quality services and products to its customers as well as to contribute to the enrichment of society – via honest operating practices and by re-investing their profits in their business and in the communities they serve (The co-operative group, 2005).

As mentioned in the previous section, the Co-operative Group Ltd has recently experienced a lot of series change and transformation; this is outlined on the co-operative website as including: “…by selling off any business that did not accord to the Group’s commercial or co-operative aims, cutting-costs and revamping poor performing businesses, invested in new systems and new businesses, revitalised the management team and improved customer service. The next stage of their strategy is to take advantage of new business opportunities where they can make a difference for their customers” (www.co-op.co.uk/foodretail).
The Co-operative Group’s core objective is to “optimize profits from businesses where their co-operative values give them a positive marketing advantage” (The co-operative group, 2005). This allows them “to serve [their] members and to deliver [their] social goals as a successful co-operative, while making a reasonable financial return to their member-owners, both corporate and individual” (Sustainability Report, 2005).
The co-operative groups consider ethical and honest trading to be at the heart of good practice, as well as democratic accountability and participation. The company’s trading areas are managed by fifteen-member Area Committees who have annual elections and meetings. These members elect people onto “regional boards”, which look to report to all members in the region. “National board” encompasses directors who are elected via regional boards. Each Co-Operative Group store can also have member forums.
As Britain’s biggest co-operative, the Co-operative Group Ltd has an n important role within the larger co-operative movement. The Group subscribes to Co-operatives UK and the Co-operative Party, and is also a major sponsor of “new co-operative ventures, local initiatives through Co-operative Action and Fairtrade promotion” (The co-operative group, 2005).
 Co-operative principles
These are the key principles of the Co-operative Group Ltd., as outlined on their website (The co-operative group, 2005): “Voluntary and open membership”; “Democratic member control”; “Member economic participation”, “Autonomy and independence”; “Education, training and information”; “Co-operation among co-operatives”; “Concern for community” (The co-operative group, 2005).

2.6 Performance Measurement and the Co-operative Group Ltd.

Having now examined the history and business strategy of the Co-operative Group Ltd. I will now examine the way in which the organization measures its own performance.

Naturally, as an organization with so many different markets and industries, the Co-operative has to deal with a wide range of reporting challenges. In order to handle these, the Co-operative Group introduced a consolidated approach to its corporate responsibility reporting that was designed to indicate a transparent overview of the their social, ethical and environmental performance, as well as to indicate their management and reporting standards, as well as to satisfy the demands of the individual business.
In order to gauge the performance of an organization across the range of these very different industries and markets, a selection of management programs and “impact indicators” were created.
These measure the “management infrastructure” of an organization and aim to motivate the embedding of programs which deal with “social performance”. This program is installed to encompass areas which are material to the Group, such as diversity, environment and community investment.

Another type of significant process indicators are “impact indicators”; these quantify a Society’s social performance and facilitate goal setting and “trend analysis”.

Every one of these indicators are based upon a generic management system, the fundamental aspects of which are as follows:
• “Policy to show that it is of sufficient importance to the business”
• “Governance is in place to ensure that the process is managed effectively”
• “Systems in place to ensure that it is implemented across the business”
• “That the systems are being monitored”
• “That as a result of monitoring, results are reported, evaluated and any issues arising are addressed.
A definition for each aspect of the management system is then developed, tailored to the performance area, which internal audit can then use to assess each businesses performance.”
(Kaplan & Nortan, 1993)

For the purposes of this study, my research will focus primarily on the food retail aspect of the Co-operative group; this is because, as outlined earlier, I have worked at a food retail outlet in Northampton. Therefore the next section will look to expand and examine the significance of performance management in Co-operative food retail stores.
In the current climate, retailers are facing severe budget and performance pressures. This means in order for them to survive, they must stay ahead of their competitors which means making such all staff members are suitably trained and have the necessary skills to carry the organization into a profitable future.
However, in large organizations this can prove to be extremely difficult – especially if there are many levels, departments or regions to monitor.

This is where integrated performance management programs come into play; they allow retail managers to have real-time access to the required data to construct good business decisions. These are also significantly beneficial to senior executives, allowing them to make sure that the functional, departmental, and staff goals are in alignment.

Kaplan & Nortan (1993) observed that retailer managers are confronted with “a variety of high-impact decisions that must be made as quickly as possible in response to a variety of problems including fraud, out-of-stocks, ad misprints, employee scheduling crises, and customer service issues.” Consequently, these managers cannot handle all of this different information and responsibilities, so priorities must be established.

In recent years, a wide selection of programs and tools, such as “human resource”, “point of sale” and “inventory control systems”, have been made available to assist managers to establish priorities and to help them to make difficult decisions. However, as a result of this, managers in retailer have to rely on several different programs, and while there is a lot of data, it is often kept locked away, “making it difficult for employees to access and share as well as for executives to use in decision-making” (Kaplan & Nortan, 1993).

Thus, managers in retails long for a possibility to integrate this information technically and functionally. Through integrating technologies and systems, manages can make the most of their data as well as of the time and efforts of their staff. A considerable development towards this is for managers to supply the staff with suitable information that is structured so that they can quickly see what actions need to be taken and an integrated performance management program helps to accomplish this.

In most retail operations today, it is not uncommon for managers to not have access to real-time sales information. This can be as a result of the various operations levels, regions etc. but all of these factors renders it difficult for the manager to get access to important data which could assist them to advance work performance.

I am now going to examine the performance measures used specifically within the Retail industry.
The Retail sector of the Co-operative Group provides the company with the largest profits than any of their other industries. The company can boast its own range of labeled products – many of which that are of high quality than their competitors – all in order to satisfy their customers’ needs.

The Co-operative Group aims to reward staffs who have performed well in the organization. The Co-op installs clear employment policies and practices, which set out what they expect from staff.

In 2004, the Co-op carried out an “employee satisfaction” survey, which showed that more than half of staff considered themselves to be “generally happy” to work for the Co-op (The co-operative sustainability report, 2005). However, just as many stated that they desired “more freedom to deliver outstanding service to their customers” (The co-operative sustainability report, 2005). Consequently the organization worked hard to address these statements, as well as with other comments submitted; which included entering into a partnership with “Solutions” in order to provide an “Employee Assistance Programme” offering free advice and counseling support. This also led to the foundation of the “Diamond Recognition Scheme” where staff can be nominated for “outstanding performance” in the workplace.

Elsewhere, a review of staff conditions was undertaken by Co-op’s internal audit function; this observed that a working relationship with trade unions existed, and that this was supported by the chief executive.

Now, in order to make sure of the effective monitoring of employee conditions the HR Leadership Team meets monthly and report to the Board on a quarterly basis (The co-operative sustainability report, 2005).

2.7 The Co-operative, Northampton

The Northampton Co-op is one of the largest retail stores in the UK.
2.7.1 Performance Review

In order to record staff performance, the co-op carries out a performance review two times every year.

This review is carried out by an interview arranged with every staff member, in which they ask questions such as if they “are happy” with their work, or if they require “some kind of training” (The co-operative sustainability report, 2005). Then, the retail executive will look to come up with a solution to help improve the staff member’s skills or training. Managers may also pass on positive or negative feedback accordingly.

Personally, I believe this to be an effective means as to measure staff members’ performance and feelings because it gives every staff member a chance to directly share their opinions with managers.

2.7.2 Leakage meetings
The company also carries out “leakage meetings” whereby they ask staff members specific questions that relate to the company and their role. Here the manager will pass out details about the company, including how much profit and loss the organisation has made during a specific time period. Managers will also explain any reasons for loss and explain how that staff member could help develop the business with improved work.

The aim of this type of review is to find out just how conscious staff are of the organization at large and to motivate them to work harder with view of the “bigger picture.” These types of interview must be attended by every staff member.

2.7.3 Benchmarking in co-operative

The Co-op also carries out internal benchmarking where they compare their own organization as in within co-operative group. For example, the Northampton co-op will compare its business performance with other co-op stores in Britain.

2.7.4 Talk back meetings
The Co-op also carry out talk-back meetings in which the manager gets a group of staff together and asks them to express their opinions on the organization’s performance or maybe ask them to provide some fresh ideas as to how the company could potentially improve.

This gives staff members a chance to express their opinions. I experienced this type of feedback first hand when I was part of a talk-back meeting in 2007. It was a very interesting experience and I could see why and how it could benefit an organization, as so many people expressed unique and insightful opinions.

Through observing the various performance measurement programs utilized by the Co-operative Group ltd., I can now see that, while they are using a variety of programs, they are not focusing on one specific tool to measure performance. As mentioned above, I have examined and explained the most effective performance measurement tools which I believe, if implemented, would really improve the co-op’s performance, both as a food retail store, and as the company at large.

2.8 Best Available Techniques

As explained, performance measurement is a crucial tool for any organization and comprises a central aspect of effective management. This also means that the selection of performance measurement tool utilized by an organization must be suitable for the industry, the company, and the long-term goals they hope to achieve. What the managers and organization decide to implement will have a significant impact across the entire organization, and must be used to motivate the operational actions of the company, and to construct realistic targets for the future.

In this section I have gone through the various performance measurement programs, explaining how they work and their strengths and weaknesses. Of all of these mentioned, I believe that for the purpose of the food retail Co-op store, “Benchmarking” performance measurement would be the most effective. This should be done internally and also externally. By carrying out this form of performance measurement externally – i.e. comparing their company to competitors such as ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsburys etc. – will enable managers to see the areas in which they are strong or possible weak, and need work on. From external benchmarking the Co-op could learn a great deal of vital information from these leading companies, which will help drive the Co-op to be the best British food retailer.

The second type of performance measurement program that I believe the co-op should implement is “balance score card” (BSC). This is because it is an effective tool for measuring the total performance of a company, from the perspective of the staff, and across all levels, departments and regions of the company. This will help to give the company a wide range of feedback and opinions which will help it to develop and possibly give the Co-op a competitive advantage in the market.

These are the two performance measurement systems that I believe, if probably implemented and appropriated by the Co-op, will produce the most useful information to help the company manage its performance, and to set realistic targets for the future that will take the company to becoming the leading food retailer in the UK.
Chapter-3.Methodology

Fundamental Concepts and Themes of my Research Methodology
(Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2003)
3. METHODOLOGY
________________________________________________________________________

Background to Methodology
Howard and Sharp (1983) define the process of research as “seeking through methodological processes to add one’s own body of knowledge and hopefully that of others by the discovery of non trivial facts and insights.”

Similarly, Hague (2002) states that a methodology is “a plan for collecting; organising and integrating collected data so that end result can be reached.” Thus, my Methodology section will be used to offer justification towards my selection of performance measurement program; I will examine and explain my chosen research strategy, and also give light to alternative methods, systems, processes for interpretating information, and will conclude by examining the quality of my research.

3.1 Philosophy and Approach

Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2003) explain that a research philosophy depends “on the way a researcher thinks about the development of knowledge.” These authors are also responsible for established 3 of the primary views which characterise the research process: “Positivism”, “Interpretivism” and “Realism”. For the purposes of this study I will adopt an “interpretive” approach as my aim is to comprehend the subjective reality of the various performance measurement programs that I will study.

I have structured my research approach into two types: the “Deductive Approach” – where a researcher comes up with a hypothesis and builds a research strategy to test this hypothesis – and the “Inductive Approach” – where a researcher attains data and develops his theory based on this data.

I will adopt an “inductive” reasoning approach for the purposes of this research study. I believe that this is the most suitable form of reasoning because it offers me an in-depth comprehension of the staffs results as I will collect and collate data before coming up with a suitable hypothesis and theory.

3.2 Research Strategy

I have undertaken a research strategy which is dependant on “what questions the problem leads to and what end result is desirable” (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2003).

Consequently, I have chosen to adopt a case-study approach. I have chosen this type of approach because of the nature of my chosen research question. Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2003) stated that this case studies are “appropriate to answer ‘HOW and WHY’ questions, when the focus is on a contemporary phenomenon with a real life context.” These authors also stated that “case studies are suitable for practical problems, which are often problem centred” (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2003). A primary benefit advantage of case studies is their ability to attain data from a wide variety of sources; such as interview, observations and historical data.

Yet it must be considered that case-study approaches are susceptible to being manipulated to better suit the researchers aims and they also are not suitable for comparisons; this is because “no two businesses are the same – results will be different on the bases of time consumed by the organisation in the” (Hague, 2002). Therefore for the purposes of my study, I believe that a single case-study strategy would be suitable as case studies are “empirically grounded and exploratory” (Hague, 2002).

3.3 Research Method

Hague (2002) outlines the definition of a Positive approach to a research methodology: “generated from testing hypothesis generated from theory, mainly quantitative data and statistical analysis. It decides if results confirm or refute the theory.” Thus, the quantitative approach renders it feasible to apply statistical comparisons and can be used as “exploratory” tool (Hague, 2002).

Douglas and Craig (2006) discuss the “phenomenological approach” to research, which formulates conclusion based upon the process of investigation > qualitative data > and then allows “the investigation to guide the project.” Consequently, this approach “increases the understanding of the case studied since it can penetrate deeper into each care” (Douglas and Craig, 2006).

Another type of research methodology is the “Methodological triangulation” in which the researcher collects qualitative and quantitative data, but negates “using just these extremes” (Hague, 2002).

For the purposes of this study, I will implement a case-study that uses qualitative and quantitative data. I will analyse a select group of managers by adopting a qualitative approach; this will allow me to formulate my own conclusions based on the results I come up with.

For larger groups of retail clients, I will adopt both a quantitative and qualitative approach – using a specifically constructed questionnaire to attain data that I will statistically. Also, buying behaviours will be recorded as qualitative data.

Hague (2002) explains that there exist two main advantages of making use of multi-methods in this study; which is that “different methods can be used for different purposes in a study”.

3.4 Attaining my Data

Yin (1994) explains that for case-studies, data (or evidence) can come from 6 types of source: “documents, articles, interviews, direct observation, participant-observation and physical artefacts.” He explain that material can be primary or secondary nature, and that primary data “is collected to satisfy the specific purpose of the study” while secondary data is “published findings from earlier research studies” (Yin 1994). Bouma and Atkinson (1995) observe that secondary data is best collected at the beginning of research “to provide a background and basic information about the topic being researched.” Finally, Hague (2002) explains that combining these types of data “will give a deeper understanding of the quantitative data.”

I will be my research by utilising a series of unstructured interviews with managers, and I will then carry out a comprehensive secondary data analysis that should provide me with a fuller comprehension of the theory behind “relationship-marketing”.

Hague (2002) suggested that “interviews are the best form of collecting evidence if the researcher wants to find out facts that cannot be observed.” Therefore I will attain my Primary data by the way of semi-structured face-to-face interviews. This will enable me to “elaborate” on specific questions or topics or investigation more fully issues where required (Yin 1994).

I will give the clients standardized questionnaires that I will have pre-planned and structured to provide me with the required information and key data directly from the client. I will adopt a “random sampling approach” to select candidates for these surveys. To increase the validity of this research, I will make sure that the questions are not misleading and access required information will be made available.

“Primary qualitative interviews” can be analysed to help steer the direction of later research questions. However, quantitative data evidence will have to be analysed before it can be used in this way.

The analysis of this collated data will then go towards an intensive phase and my conclusions will be drawn from the findings.

3.5 Quality of the design

3.5.1 Validity

Yin (1994) states that “to have a successful research methodology the quality of it must be high, to judge this the validity and reliability is assessed.”

Elsewhere, Wikman (2006) states that validity “concerns the issue whether or not the findings can be shown to be valid for the problem that is being investigated.” Therefore the information that is collected has to be relevant to the research question; otherwise this will produce data of a low validity: “irrelevant data and unnecessary information leads to low validity” (Wikman, 2006).

Therefore, to increase the validity of the research, I shall specify the key topics and structure the information by question to analyse consistency of the findings.

I will also use have my peers and research partners help to check the information collated from these various sources. This should allow me to construct a suitable and effective questionnaire.

Any bits of information that I consider to be irrelevant from the interviews or surveys I will ignore. I will also make sure that all of my information that is collected is from reliable sources. I intend to keep my database updated regularly, to make sure that the data is definitely stored and is secure.

3.5.2 Reliability

Robson (2002) explains that “reliability concerns the issue of consistent results of the study if it was replicated […] A good guideline is to make sure that if someone did the project again, the same results would be found.” Therefore, reliability is a crucial part of a case-study and the main objective of reliability is to reduce the amount of unreliable data or errors in the research study; “a prerequisite for reliability is that all the documentation is in proper order and can be easily found” (Wikman, 2006).
I will look to reduce the level of data error by thoroughly planning my interviews and questions, with the managers and customers, to make sure I get the most out of my allotted time with them. I will also look to make sure the interview is conducted in a secure and comfortably environment, as to make sure the candidates are not distracted or distraught.

I aim try to maintain a “transparency” in the way that I draw up my theories and conclusions from the attained data, and will make sure that the structured surveys and questionnaires are not misleading or biased; I have to consider the survey answers are subjective to the candidates environment, attitude and perceptions. Thus, I aim to construct at easily understandable questionnaire that will hopefully provide me reliable and consistent data.

3.6 Linkages

In order to fulfil the aims of this research study, it is important to pre-plan how I will collect and use the data effectively. The following table indicates the way in which I will use the collated data and how it is suitable to the intended research question:

get

I shall provide the manager with a written statement explaining to what extent I shall disclose the data attained for this research, as well as regarding the privacy of the surveys, interviews and other key research areas.
For the purposes of my research I aim to record and refer to each candidate with a unique code, but not with personal detail.

I intend for the results and collated data of this case-study to be applicable to an other companies in the food retail market.

The data that I will attain shall identify key aspects in the development process of performance measurement and I feel that is will be both valid and reliable.
Chapter- 4.Data Analysis/Evaluation

4.1 Data Analysis
__________________________________________________________________

4.1.1 Questionnaire

Questionnaires are widely used by researchers in a variety of industries and for a variety of purposes. This is because they are a key research tool that effectively provides a lot of important data.
A questionnaire or survey typical consists of a selection of pre-set questions or prompts that aim to collect personal opinions from candidates. The questioning processes involved with surveys indicate a key part of “social research”, whereby “the constructed character” of information “is at its most visible (Kale, 1996). It is also important to remember that in order to obtain valid responses to the questions in a questionnaire, it is vital that both the questioner and questioned understand the survey questions and answers in the same way.

4.1.2 Working procedures

For the purposes of this research I have created key questions which I will include in the questionnaire to examine and investigate the particular opinions of the staff at the Northampton food retail Co-op store. This particular survey comprises over 20 questions which will be distributed amongst the staff, who will return the completed surveys back to me – allowing me to analyse their responses.

4.1.3 Interviews

“At the most basic level, interviews are conversations” (Kale, 1996). However it is important to consider that there are many different sorts of interviews which can be used in a very wide selection of aims or purposes. Yet, unlike other types of interviews such as those used in therapy or during employee selection, I will deploy a type of interview which is only concerned with attaining results from candidates for the purpose of this study.

Kale (1996) states that “qualitative research interviews are attempts to understand the world from the subjects’ point of view, to unfold the meaning of peoples’ experiences, to uncover their lived world prior to scientific explanations.”

Thus, interviews for study purposes are different to other familiar kinds of interviews or conversations: “unlike conversations in daily life, which are usually common exchanges, professional interviews involve an interviewer who is in charge of structuring and directing the questioning” (Kale, 1996). Thus, within certain professional interview situations – for example job interviews or legal interrogations – the “power” of the questioner is greater than that of the person who is being questioned: “While interviews for research or evaluation purposes may also promote understanding and change, the emphasis is on intellectual understanding rather than on producing personal change” (Kvale, 1996).

4.1.4 Working procedure

I conducted interviews across the company, including with store managers, staff members and operations manager. I believe it was a good decision that has benefitted my research with some very informed and insightful data.

These interviews allowed me to learn more about the company and its processes better than a survey or from interviews with lower ranked staff. I was also a good experience because it helped me to discover just how beneficial it is to make use of a question during the interview.
4.2 Evaluation

Once I was satisfied that I had created a suitable and effective survey, the questionnaire that relates to this case-study was distributed amongst the staff at the Northampton food retail co-op store. Overall, there were fifteen questions in the survey.

4.2.1 Results
I spent a lot of time constructing the questions to go in the questionnaire, and structuring the questionnaire itself. Once I was satisfied with it, I handed it out amongst the staff of the Co-op food retail store in Northampton.

The staff then filled out the questionnaire and returned the completed surveys back to me.

I analyzed the findings and believe that this type of collecting information is very effective.

I had a questionnaire of 15 questions. Questions 1-4 asked basic questions about the staff; such as whether they feel that in their opinion, “they have suitable amounts of resources to do effectively carry out their work”, “do they understand their job responsibility”, “are they being treated individually” and whether “are they getting equal opportunities.”

Overall, I aimed to find out if the staff were content to be working as part of the Co-operative Group Ltd. I collated the data and found that over 80% of candidates said that they were “fully satisfied” with their jobs, although while 10% neither agreed nor disagreed. It could be considered that these 10% they do not have enough resources to do their jobs.

The next section in the questionnaire aimed to find out more regarding the staff members’ opinions of their working relationships with their manager. This section included 9 questions in that.

The results showed that 80% of candidates recorded that they were “happy with their manager and the information they have been provided about the company.” The results also showed that these candidates considered themselves to be “happy” with the current system of promotions and rewards.
However, 10% expressed that they are “in the middle” – neither agreeing nor disagreeing, while the remaining 10% gave negative answers. This indicates that the staff members are “not happy” with their job responsibilities or that they did not get receive promotion or reward.

The third part of the questionnaire involved asking the staff member’s questions with regards to performance measurement. The reason that I asked about this was to attain some idea as to how aware staff members were with regard to the performance measurement programs being utilized by the Co-operative Group Ltd.

I aimed to find how the number of staff who were “interested” in performance measurement. About 60% of candidates came back with positive answers, while 40% of the staff in the organization expressed that they were not very aware about the performance measurement system in the Co-operative Group Ltd., or they were not interested.

Finally, I asked candidates to provide me with reasons to measure performance at the Co-operative Group Ltd. Naturally there was a wide range of responses; 30% said that it is important to measure performance to improve efficiency while the remaining 70% expressed a variety of opinions, “to respond to competition”, “align actions to priorities”, “reduce cost” and “increase focus on revenue”.

Overall I believe that the questionnaire was very beneficial to my research and towards my case-study. It allowed me to attain the opinions of a wide range of staff at the Northampton food retail Co-op store. It provided me with the insight that some members of staff were interested in the concept of performance measurement.

4.2.2 Results of Interviews
I was very specific about who I chose to interview for the purpose of this research. I felt that interview a random selection of staff would not be a constructive use of time or resources, as the information I would have attained would have likely been similar to that expressed through the questionnaires.
Therefore I chose only to interview senior staff members, because I believe that a face-to-face meeting with these people who have greater knowledge and insight into the company would be more beneficial.
I interview the store manager (Mr. P) and operations manager (Mr. R). Both were very helpful and provided me with an abundance of data regarding the current performance measurements systems used by the Co-operative Group Ltd.
When conducting the interview I was very impressed with their managerial skills and knowledge. This was my first experience of conducting an interview and I found it to be very useful.
Mr P. explained the performance reviews and leakage meetings used by Co-Op. Mr R. was very pleased to see that I was so interested in performance measurement. He explained the current measurement systems of the co-op and said that the company is already trying to improve its performance by using new techniques.
Chapter-5. Conclusion

5. Conclusion ______________________________________________________________¬¬¬_______

I chose to investigate the influence of performance measurement tools because it was something that I found interesting, and believed I could appropriate to suggest ways to make actual improvements and developments within the performance of the Co-operative food retail store in Northampton. As shown, I uncovered ways in which the store could improve its performance by applying several of these key performance measurement tools. I spoke to my manager at the store who explained in detail the limited existing performance measurement tools and programs used by the organization. This study has presented with the chance to examine a real-world business issue, as well as looking at just how far an organization can implement or apply these measurement tools.
5.1 Literature appraisal
_________________________________________________________________
I began this research by studying and analyzing the various existing literature that surrounded performance measurement tools. In this research I aimed to supply the most suitable tools and programs for this study. I correlated my findings from the literature which make it simple to break-down the concept into more manageable sections for further analysis.

5.2 Research Methodology
_________________________________________________________________
Following the review of existing literature around performance measurement techniques, I then presented my research methodology for this study. It established that the aim of this section was to construct a research plan with which to draw quantitative and qualitative data from Co-op staff which was then used to identify the existing performance measurement systems and to discover current staff attitudes towards these measures. Qualitative data was collated via managers using semi-structured interviews. I interviewed the store manager and operations managers who have both worked at the company for over 10 years, and who provided me with very useful insights and information.
The quantitative data was attained from employees from using a questionnaire-based survey which invited staff members to express their opinions on the company and performance measurement programs anonymously.

All of the attained data proved to be extremely useful.
5.3 Key findings from the literature
_________________________________________________________________
My research into existing literature was essential as it helped me to highlight the relevant performance measurement techniques that could be useful to an organization. This knowledge helped me think of ways to improve performance, and to improve the company’s internal and external standards; which therefore increased the organization’s competitive advantage.
Examining the literature was particularly useful because it highlighted the need for performance measurement tools within organizations, and the various tools to achieve them.

The literature review chapter also provided an overview of the Co-Operative Group Ltd., including their history and business strategy – which is significant information. It also examined the contemporary performance measurement system used by the organization.

I then outlined the details of the Northampton retail store, which was the primary focus of this study, and then supplied recommendations to this store as to allow them to appropriate these programs to improve and measure their performance. This meant that the advantages gained from implementing performance measurement, such as motivating staff, altering company culture, or developing staff training, could be measured and examined
5.4 Summary of Data analysis
_________________________________________________________________

In this section I unearthed some fascinating opinions and ideas from the managers and staff that I interviewed.
It became obvious to me that the managers in the Co-operative Group Ltd are very curious about applying performance measurement programs to the organization.
There is currently some form of performance measurement techniques in place at the Co-operative group which measure if the company is performing well, and to evaluate the performance of staff members.

From interviewing other members of staff, I discovered that they are not interested in performance measurement; they were not concerned if their performance is measured and did not show much knowledge about performance measurement and its benefits.
5.5 Concluding comments
_________________________________________________________________

In conclusion, it seems that performance measurement is a very influential and hugely significant tool for modern day companies; although it remains fairly overlooked in many industries. It is hugely influential as it helps organizations to evaluate its performance, and to evaluate areas of strength or weakness. I have examined the primary techniques for effective performance measurement and have given an example in the shape of the Co-operative Group Ltd.

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16. Herbert H. Meyer (1991) Academy of Management Executive
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18. Hutchins, D.C (1999) “Just in time” Gower publishing limited
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22. Kvale, S. (1996). Inter Views: An introduction to qualitative research interviewing. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
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Appendices

Appendix 1:

QUESTIONNAIRE:

Hi guys! I am studying for a Master degree in Management, and as part of the course I am looking performance measurement system in co-operative. I would be grateful if you can help me by completing the following questionnaire. Your views are really very important for my studies. All respondents will remain anonymous. I should be really very thankful to all of you.

General questions:

1. I have sufficient tools and/or resources to do my job well

Agree Tend to agree Neither agree Tend to Disagree Disagree
Or
Disagree
1 2 3 4 5

2. I have a clear understanding of my job responsibilities
Agree Tend to agree Neither agree Tend to Disagree Disagree
Or
Disagree
1 2 3 4 5

3.I am treated as an individual not just one of the crowd
Agree Tend to agree Neither agree Tend to Disagree Disagree
Or
Disagree
1 2 3 4 5

4. I believe co-op offers equality of opportunities to all employees
Agree Tend to agree Neither agree Tend to Disagree Disagree
Or
Disagree
1 2 3 4 5

Employee-Customer commitment:

5. In my opinion co-op is committed to member/customer satisfaction

Agree Tend to agree Neither agree Tend to Disagree Disagree
Or
Disagree
1 2 3 4 5

6. The Procedures, systems and controls I work enable me to provide excellent member/customer service
Agree Tend to agree Neither agree Tend to Disagree Disagree
Or
Disagree
1 2 3 4 5

7. I understand what co-op stands for and how we promote our values to employees, customers and members
Agree Tend to agree Neither agree Tend to Disagree Disagree
Or
Disagree
1 2 3 4 5

8. I am satisfied with the information I receive from management on what is going on in co-op
Agree Tend to agree Neither agree Tend to Disagree Disagree
Or
Disagree
1 2 3 4 5

9. Co-op does an excellent job of informing employees about matters affecting them.

Agree Tend to agree Neither agree Tend to Disagree Disagree
Or
Disagree
1 2 3 4 5

10. Co-op is good at promoting its best people

Agree Tend to agree Neither agree Tend to Disagree Disagree
Or
Disagree
1 2 3 4 5
11. I have the opportunity to contribute my views before changes are made which affect my job

Agree Tend to agree Neither agree Tend to Disagree Disagree
Or
Disagree
1 2 3 4 5
12.On the whole, I believe the group is well managed.

Agree Tend to agree Neither agree Tend to Disagree Disagree
Or
Disagree
1 2 3 4 5

13.The decisions management makes concerning employees are usually fair.

Agree Tend to agree Neither agree Tend to Disagree Disagree
Or
Disagree
1 2 3 4 5
Importance of Performance measurement:

14. I think co-op should measure the performance of its employees

Very important Somewhat Neither important somewhat very unimportant
Important nor unimportant

Unimportant

1 2 3 4 5
15. Monitoring standards of performance is a regular management system
Strongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
1 2 3 4 5
16. Poor performance is not tolerated
Strongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
1 2 3 4 5
17. There is insufficient training and support given to staff
Strongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
1 2 3 4 5
18. There is a fair system for evaluating individual performance
Strongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
1 2 3 4 5
19. Poor performance are not dealt with effectively by my manager
Strongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
1 2 3 4 5

20. Why do you think that your company should measure the performance?
To improve Respond to Align actions to manage or reduce to increase focus

Efficiency Competitors priorities cost on revenue

1 2 3 4 5

Thank you for your time!
dutycsadix

Category: Business Essay Examples, Essay & Dissertation Samples, Management