Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to show why developing an enabling performance measurement system (PMS) can be useful to small professional service firms (PSFs) and how small PSFs can develop such an enabling PMS. Design/methodology/approach – The authors used a process‐consultation type of action research design; they developed an enabling PMS in close cooperation with the employees of a small PSF. The effects of this intervention were assessed by means of document analysis, participant observation, and individual/group interviews. Findings – The enabling PMS development process helped the firm deal with three challenges common to small PSFs: it increased employees’ understanding about how to apply the firm's strategy; it led to greater knowledge exchange among employees; and it enabled them to create new knowledge. Research implications/limitations – The research results suggest the type of intervention used for developing an enabling PMS – that has already been shown to be effective in large firms – may also be useful for small PSFs. Similarities and differences with the intervention in large firms are discussed. Practical implications – Small PSFs may benefit from the approach described herein: to develop a PMS in a participatory manner. It is especially useful if interested in better alignment of operations with strategy and/or to better explicate tacit and create new firm‐relevant knowledge. Originality/value – This is the first paper about developing an enabling PMS in a small PSF.
International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 26, 2012
Keywords: Vietnam; Small firms; Legal profession; Professional services; Performance measurement; Lawyers; Participation; Service industries; Action research
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