Rediscovering performance management:
systems, learning and integration
Purpose – This paper sets out to explore performance management as a discipline and propose an
integrated performance management model.
Design/methodology/approach – This conceptual paper aims to clarify what performance
management is and how it emerged as a discipline by tracking its evolution at strategic, operational
and individual levels. Structured as a review, it enables the rediscovery of performance management
and the identiﬁcation of several key dichotomies, brought together under an integrated performance
Findings – Three emerging approaches to performance management are presented as potential
catalysts to accelerate the evolution of this discipline: systems thinking, learning and integration. An
integrated performance management model is also proposed.
Research limitations/implications – The paper draws on the consultancy and research experience of
the author. The generated model is conceptual in essence and needs to be tested. Further research on
the history of performance management as a discipline and the integration approach between
organisational levels is needed.
Practical implications – The paper makes suggestions for improving performance management
governance – the introduction of the Performance Management Ofﬁce. It also suggests a higher
emphasis on learning and integration during the implementation and usage of performance
Social implications – By outlining the importance of systems thinking in managing organisational
performance, this paper highlights the need for encouraging its applicability and implementation
through systemic thinking. A higher emphasis on including elements of systems thinking in educational
curricula may be a possible step forward.
Originality/value – The paper is relevant to both practitioners and academics, as it clariﬁes the existing
body of knowledge and provides a platform for future research
Keywords Performance management, Learning, Integration
Paper type Conceptual paper
Compared to the natural sciences, such as physics and chemistry, human organisation or
administration is more loosely deﬁned, some considering it a science and others an art.
However, both proponents of management as a science and as an art agree on its ultimate
role – getting things done, or accomplishing desired goals. Hence performance
management has emerged over time as a discipline that assists in establishing,
monitoring and achieving individual and organisational goals.
The premise of this paper is formed by empirical observations of today’s performance
management practice that outline several areas of imbalance and tension. Exploring these is
important especially since performance management is a relatively young, emergent
DOI 10.1108/13683041011027490 VOL. 14 NO. 1 2010, pp. 109-123, Q Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1368-3047
MEASURING BUSINESS EXCELLENCE
Aurel Brudan is a PhD
Candidate at The University
of Melbourne, Melbourne,