International Journal of Operations &
Vol. 20 No. 11, 2000, pp. 1278-1292.
# MCB University Press, 0144-3577
Industry characteristics and
An empirical investigation in
New Zealand-based manufacturing
Griffith University, Australia, and
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Keywords Productivity, Measurement, Manufacturing, New Zealand
Abstract This paper reports the results of an empirical study that explores how industry
characteristics are associated with the design of productivity measurement systems. The
responses of 114 chief executives, drawn from a wide range of New Zealand-based
manufacturing companies, to a mailed survey have been analysed using Friedman two-way
ANOVA tests. The results suggest significant variations in industry characteristics, measured by
environmental uncertainty among industries. These industrial variations are associated with
management's preference for the type of productivity measurement systems.
A significant proportion of the literature is concerned with the use and
effectiveness of productivity measurement systems in organisations (Banker
et al., 1989; Armitage and Atkinson, 1990; Lynch and Cross, 1991; Hansen,
Mowen and Hammer, 1992; Juchau and Chenhall, 1987; Brinker, 1997). A
productivity measurement system (PMS) is defined as a set of management
tools that are associated with the assessment of the organisation's productivity
(Lynch and Cross, 1991). A PMS satisfactorily captures important dimensions
of performance and information on operational processes, customer
satisfaction, organisational strategic choice and improvement activities that
are not well covered by traditional management accounting systems such as
standard costing, variance analysis, etc. ( Johnson and Kaplan, 1987; Banker
et al., 1989; Lynch and Cross, 1991).
Juchau and Chenhall (1987) provide strong evidence to support the
proposition that greater environmental uncertainty in an organisation affects
The authors are grateful to Tony van Zijl, Chris Guilding, Markus Milne, Margaret Abernethy,
Ruth Boaden (the joint editor) and the anonymous referees for helpful and insightful comments.
The paper has further benefited from the views of participants at the 1996 Accounting
Association of Australia and New Zealand Annual Conference in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Financial assistance from Victoria University of Wellington is gratefully acknowledged.