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Convergence and divergence issues in strategic management - پایگاه مقالات علمی مدیریت
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  • Title: Convergence and divergence issues in strategic management - Indonesia"s experience with the Balanced Scorecard in HR management
    Authors: Rhodes, Jo., Walsh, Paul., Lok, Pete
    Subject: Strategic Management
    Publish: 2008
    Status: full text
    Source: International Journal of Human Resource Management; Jun2008, Vol. 19 Issue 6, p1170-1185
    Preparation: Scientific Database Management Journal Articles www.SYSTEM.parsiblog.com
    Abstract: Globalization pressures escalate competitiveness and, in response, global companies tend to adopt a handful of Western management practices. One of these is the Balanced Scorecard. However, empirical evidence assessing the transferability and effectiveness of Western best practices into Asian countries is scarce. In particular, empirical evidence relating to the effectiveness of Balanced Scorecard implementations is limited, as is the impact of Asian Balanced Scorecard contextual variables. This article contributes to this gap through the study of a Central Bank of Indonesia (BI) Balanced Scorecard implementation within a conceptual framework that explores convergence and divergence of global management practices. The lessons learned discuss how divergent factors such as national culture, leadership styles, organizational culture and human resource management practices can influence Asian context Balanced Scorecard implementations.
    Keywords: balanced scorecard; convergence; divergence; HRM practices; strategic
    management    --Download Article

    Introduction:
    Globalization, deregulation, technological innovation and high customer expectations
    continually reshape the global international business landscape. To compete successfully,
    companies require focus, innovation and agility to enable quick change (Kinni and Ries 2000;
    Christensen and Raynor 2003). In pursuit of sustainable competitiveness, companies adopt
    improvement programmes such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship
    Management (CRM), Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), Supply Chain Management
    (SCM), Six Sigma, and the Balanced Scorecard. Principally while these programmes originate in
    the West, their apparent success encourages others, including Asian companies and Western
    companies with Asian operations, to emulate this strategy.
    Convergence, the tendency of companies to adopt similar successful management practices,
    suggests that companies are becoming more alike, wherever they are located, in terms of
    structure, technologies, and ways of operating. Convergence protagonists (Hickson, Hinings,
    McMillan and Schwitter 1974; Porter 1986) contend that convergence is influenced by factors
    such as, improved global communication and travel (Levitt 1983); technology transfers;
    collaboration between organizations and nations (Doz and Prahalad 1991; Rosenzweig and
    Singh 1991; Ghoshal and Nohria 1993; Porter 1996); and the operations of multi-national
    corporations (MNCs) (Lubatkin, Ndiaye and Vengnoff 1997).
    It is axiomatic that Western management practices require modification when used in non-
    Western contexts, as embodied by the popular term glocal, to think globally but act locally; this phenomenon, known as divergence, acts counter to convergence. Divergence protagonists
    (Hofstede 1995; Adler 1996) argue that employees are likely to exhibit a range of different
    attitudes and behaviours. In particular, culturally bound employees from different national
    cultures display different work-related preferences (such as promotion by seniority in Japan)
    (McGaughey and De Cieri 2002; Chen 2004). Consequently, Western management practices
    and improvement programmes may require adjustments when implemented in different cultures.
    Convergence and divergence coexist; examining these two perspectives separately is an
    over-simplification of the complexity of the business environment (Lowe, Milliman, De Cieri
    and Dowling 2002; Huo, Hang and Napier 2002; Jackson 2002). For example, a company may
    adopt the same ERP system globally, an example of convergence, but have different HR policies
    in different countries. These will influence the nature and effectiveness of country-specific ERP
    implementations, an example of divergence.
    The debate on the convergence of global best practices (Glinow, Drost and Teagarden 2002;
    Chan, Shaffer and Snape 2004) and the effects of divergence due to differences in national
    culture (Jackson 2002; Huo et al. 2002; Rowley and Benson 2002) raises a plethora of questions
    on the effectiveness of best practice programmes in a non-Western context. Although there is
    sufficient evidence to support the convergence proposition for firms in the West (Cooper 1998;
    Glinow et al. 2002), empirical evidence assessing the transferability and effectiveness of
    Western best practices into Asian countries is scarce. This is particularly true of strategic
    management practices.
    The Balanced Scorecard is used by many firms including Sears, Kodak and AT&T to improve
    their strategic management capabilities (Yeung and Berman 1997; Kaplan and Norton 2001) and
    build high performance cultures (Butler, Letza and Neale 1997; Mooraj, Oyon and Hostettler
    1999; Brewer 2002; Niven 2002). Most of the evidence relating to the success of the Balanced
    Scorecard, or otherwise, originates from the West. Although the Balanced Scorecard
    Collaborative (www.bscol.com) claims that a number of Asian firms has successfully adopted
    the Balanced Scorecard, the empirical evidence is sketchy. Divergent factors such as leadership
    styles, HRM practices, national cultures, organizational culture and industrial development are
    likely sources of potential differences in Asian contexts (McGaughey and De Cieri 2002).
    This article examines the influence of divergent factors on the convergence of best practices
    in strategic management in an Asian context using a Bank of Indonesia (BI) Balanced Scorecard
    implementation case. The article contributes contextual insights on the issues and challenges
    faced by Asian firms adopting Western strategic management practices. A conceptual
    framework, shown in Figure 1, encapsulates the issues around the deployment of the BI Balanced
    Scorecard.


    Conceptual framework
    The apex of the framework shows the desired outcome – a high performance culture. The key
    elements that create and sustain a high performance culture (Holbeche 2005) include:
    1. flexibility, speed and learning
    2. innovation and continuous improvement
    3. boundaryless organizational structure to maximize potential network and synergies
    4. people motivation to sustain a high level of performance
    5. the right ‘deal’ and working environment, and
    6. connecting employees to stakeholders with a deep level of meaning.
    The conceptual framework proposes that four interdependent elements of divergence:
    (1) leadership style (2) national culture (3) organizational culture and (4) HRM practices influence the success of the Balanced Scorecard adoption and ultimately the attainment of a high
    performance culture. The Balanced Scorecard considered in Figure 1 is labelled a ‘best practice
    Balanced Scorecard’ to distinguish it from the many other variations seen in practice. It has three
    defining characteristics: (1) a Strategy Map which describes the business strategy prior to the
    selection of metrics and targets; (2) a corporate Balanced Scorecard cascaded to lower levels to
    align operational decisions; (3) metrics supported by an automated reporting tool that allows for
    data drill-downs and initiative management. Figure 1 implies that a high performance culture
    and the sustainability of a best practice Balanced Scorecard are mutually reinforcing.
    Different national cultural values, leadership styles, organizational culture, and HRM
    practices influence a Balanced Scorecard implementation. Furthermore national performance
    appraisal approaches will reflect the divergent cultural values underpinning national managerial
    practices. Distinct Asian cultural values and Confucian values such as conflict avoidance,
    harmony, face, obligations, guanxi (relationships), status and respect for elders (Chen 2004) are
    important factors that affect business transactions and management practices. For example, the
    direct transfer of an American head office’s performance appraisal system onto a local Asian
    environment may be problematic. Asian employees may view the American style of direct
    communication and assertive negotiation as culturally unacceptable, preferring a non-assertive,
    indirect and conflict avoidance style of performance evaluation; Asian priorities will focus on
    dimensions such as harmony, face and work centrality (Westwood and Lok 2003). This cultural
    divergence indicates that a modified version of a Western performance appraisal system, which
    takes into account sensitive cultural factors, may be more effective.


    Convergent elements – the Balanced Scorecard
    The original Balanced Scorecard, introduced over a decade ago (Kaplan and Norton, 1992;
    1993) was a metrics system that provided an organizational health check. While the strategic
    ives leading to these metrics were linked at a high level across the four perspectives of
    Financial, Customer, Process, and Learning and Growth, first generation scorecards did not
    intend for companies to perform a comprehensive strategic analysis nor examine their customer
    value propositions. The first generation scorecard was best suited to situations where the firm
    wished to communicate to staff the metrics that were important for moving forward. Experience
    highlighted that metrics alone, without a clearly articulated strategy, leadership support and  employee engagement were not a catalyst for a high performance culture. Kaplan and Norton
    (2001, p. 3) when commenting on their early work noted that:
    Several years ago, we introduced the Balanced Scorecard. At the time, we thought the Balanced
    Scorecard was about measurement not about strategy. We began with the premise that an exclusive
    reliance on financial measures in a management system was causing organizations to do the wrong
    thing. . . . If financial measures were causing organizations to do the wrong things, what measures
    would prompt them to do the right things. The answer turned out to be obvious. Measure the strategy!
    In second-generation scorecards, strategy directly informs what to measure using a Strategy
    Map linking strategic capabilities development to a customer value proposition and to
    shareholder value (Kaplan and Norton 2004); metrics and targets derived from the strategy map
    scorecards communicate strategy throughout the organization; regular performance reviews
    provide feedback to exercise strategic control. We regard second generation Balanced Scorecards
    incorporating StrategyMaps as ‘best practice’ in the context of the Balanced Scorecard identified in
    Figure 1. This issue is further explored in Walsh, Lok and Jones (2005).


    Cascading process
    A Balanced Scorecard is most effective when it aligns the efforts of everyone at every level in an
    organization. In Figure 1 this is referred to as the cascading process. Business unit scorecards
    when cascaded from the corporate scorecard align the reporting, decisions and behaviours
    at the operational level. The cascading process enables a line-of-sight from operational activities
    to the firm’s strategic direction and is essential in order to operationalize corporate level strategy
    throughout the firm.
    The cascading process is predicated on the assumption that ‘measurement drives behaviour’,
    especially when linked with a reward and recognition system. Metrics not only provide feedback
    on unit and individual performance but also may inspire the individual to seek continuous
    challenges. For example, a Balanced Scorecard metric may reveal that customer satisfaction
    increased from 80% to 85%. This achievement might then generate further enthusiasm among
    employees to improve on this performance. This is not just a change in reported performance but
    the enthusiasm generated may indicate a change in performance culture.


    Automated reporting tools
    Data underpin informed decision-making, yet global enterprises rarely have consistent
    transactional operational applications in place because of significant local variations in
    applications logic and the business processes around the applications. The resultant proliferation of
    standard reports is daunting and it is difficult to find the nuggets of actionable information that are
    consistent, and aggregated across business function, business process and multiple employees.
    Enterprise performance levels increasingly depend on the ability to respond with near zero
    latency; while automated systems support this, many systems were developed using ad hoc
    enterprise integration approaches resulting in information silos that support only individual units
    and make data sharing and information integration difficult (Yoo, Sangwan and Qiu 2005).
    Performance data are the lifeblood of the Balanced Scorecard; without timely and accurate
    performance information and performance alerts manual measurement efforts will become
    burdensome and resisted by time-poor managers. The widespread use of the Balanced Scorecard
    has accelerated the development of automated reporting tools that deliver performance
    information on to desktops and keep staff informed about the firm’s expectations. Many IT
    vendors now distribute reporting tools, including Corvu, Cognos, Hyperion, SAS, SAP, QPR
    and Business s... --Download Article



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