Scorecard Strategy Vision





Traditionally, managers have used a series of indicators to measure how well their organisations are performing. These measures relate essentially to financial issues such as business ratios, productivity, unit costs, growth and profitability. While useful in themselves, they provide only a narrowly focused snapshot of how an organisation performed in the past and give little or no indication of likely future performance.

During the early 1980s, the rapidly changing business environment prompted managers to take a broader view of performance and a range of other factors started to be taken into account, exemplified by the McKinsey 7-S model and popularized by the In Search of Excellence by Peters and Waterman. These provide a broader assessment of corporate health in both immediate and longer term. It is in this same regard that Robert Kaplan and David Norton of Harvard Business School in 1992 introduced the Balanced Scorecard with the aim of providing a balanced view of an organisation’s performance. Setting up the balanced scorecard, Kaplan and Norton argued that strategies often fail because they are not converted successfully into actions that employees can understand and apply in their everyday work.

The Balanced Scorecard is defined as a strategic management and measurement system that links strategic objectives to comprehensive indicators (Kaplan and Norton 1992). The key to the success of the system is that it must be unified, integrated set of indicators that measure key activities and processes at the core of the organisation’s operating environment. It takes into account not only the traditional ‘hard’ financial measures but three additional categories of ‘soft’ quantifiable operational measures. These include:

  • Customer perspective – that is how an organisation is perceived by its customers
  • Internal perspective – in which issues an organisation must excel
  • Innovation and learning perspective – in which areas an organisation must improve and add value to its products or services or operations.

Kaplan and Norton argue that measurements taken across these four categories are seen to provide a rounded Balanced Scorecard that reflects organisations’ performance more accurately and which helps managers to focus on their mission, rather than merely on short term financial gain. Accordingly it also helps to motivate staff to achieve the strategic objectives.

This thesis undertakes a case study of Barclays Bank of Ghana ltd. to ascertain its effectiveness in achieving the vision and strategy of the company.

  • Statement of the Problem

Most key performance measurement indicators talk about how well organisations have performed in the past. Although this is important, it is more important to consider measures which give an early indication of what is likely to happen in the future and as to whether or not the vision and strategy is likely to be achieved. For example, a report may show an increase in the number of units sold in the previous month. This indicator reports on past performance. By itself, it is not a good indication of what is likely to happen in the current month or in future months.

In managing strategic objectives, there is the need to look for measures that give an early warning of what is likely to happen well into the future. As such, measures need to be grouped according to how much warning they give us and how reliable they are. Measures need to be balanced in terms of the objectives of the various stakeholders. This will guard against sub-optimization; that is achieving gains in one area at the expense of another. The measures need to clarify and gain consensus about vision and strategy of the organisation. Such measures also need to link strategic objectives to targets and annual budgets, identify and launch strategic initiatives enhance periodic systematic strategic reviews and obtain feedback to learn about and improve the strategy of the organisation.

According to Kaplan and Norton (1992), the measures an organisation uses will strongly affect the behaviour of managers and employees and will lead to performance needed to succeed. It is in this light that this research work is being undertaken.

1.3The Research Objectives

From the arguments raised above, this study is being embarked upon to describe and analyse the role the balanced scorecard plays in the achievement of a company’s vision and strategy. The study will be specifically focused on Barclays Bank of Ghana Ltd. Therefore, the specific objectives of the study are the following:

  • To find out if the balanced scorecard is being used by Ghanaian companies to measure performance and to direct such companies towards the achievement of organisational goals considering the fact that it has been around for the past sixteen (16) years.
  • To examine the extent to which the balanced scorecard drives performance of organisations and the extent to which it leads to the achievement of the company’s vision and strategy.
  • Based on the findings, make recommendations for implementation towards the use of the balanced scorecard approach to drive performance and to achieve the vision and strategy of Ghanaian companies.

1.4The Research Questions

The above objectives raise the following research questions:

  • Are mission statements of organizations translated into action plans?
  • Is the Balanced Scorecard useful in translating those mission statements into action plans?
  • What is the impact of the Balanced Scorecard on a company’s vision and strategy?
  • What is the impact of the balanced scorecard on performance of the organization before and after the introduction of the balanced scorecard?

1.5Chapter Organisation

The study is divided into five Chapters which include, after this introductory chapter, Chapter 2, which is a review of the literature relating to Balanced Scorecard, Chapter 3, in which Barclays’ mission, vision, businesses and services, organisational structure and policies and practices on the use of the balanced scorecard are discussed, Chapter 4 which discusses the research methodology upon which this thesis is built as well as an analysis of the data collected and Chapter 5, which contains conclusions and recommendations for further study.

1.6 Overview of the Balanced Scorecard


The Balanced Scorecard is defined as a strategic management and measurement system that links strategic objectives to comprehensive indicators (Kaplan and Norton 1992). As mentioned earlier, the BSC has four perspective as Customer, Learning and growth, Internal business Process, and Financial. This is illustrated in figure 1 below:

When these perspectives or variables are coordinated effectively, they result in the achievement of the organisation’s vision and strategy as demonstrated in figure 2 below which also shows the linkage between strategy and operational terms:

Source: Kaplan and Norton 1992

Kaplan and Norton (1992) have identified a number of stages of the implementation of the Scorecard. These are a mix of planning, interviews, workshops and reviews. The type, size and structure of an organisation will determine the detail of the implementation process and the number of stages adopted.

Before looking at the main steps involved in implementing the balanced scorecard, it is important to take a look at the figure below which pictorial description of the link between the BSC and performance measures.

Figure 3: The Balanced Scorecard links performance Measures

Source: Kaplan and Norton 1996

Objectives, Measures, Targets, and Initiatives

For each of the perspective of the BSC, four things are monitored (or scored) namely:

  • Objectives – these are major objectives to be achieved. For example profitable growth.
  • Measures – there are the observable parameters that will be used to measure progress toward reaching the objective. For example, the objective of profitable growth might be measured by growth in net margin.
  • Target – these are the specific target values for the measures, for example, 10% annual decline in manufacturing disruptions.
  • Initiatives – these are projects or programs to be initiated in order to meet the objective.

Implementing the Balanced Scorecard

The main steps involved in the BSC implementation include:


As the scorecard is inextricably linked to strategy, the first requirement is to clearly define that strategy and ensure that senior staff in particular, are familiar with the key issues. Before any other action can be planned, it is essential to have understanding of:

  • The strategy
  • The key objectives or goals to achieve the strategy
  • The values of the organisation (example of values are on appendix A)
  • The three or four critical success factors (CSFs) that are fundamental to the achievement of each major objective or goal.

Decide what to measure

Managers should identify the organisation’s major strategic goals. As a guide, there should be a total limit of 15 to 20 key measures linked to those specific goals – significantly fewer measures (KPIs) may not achieve a balanced view and significantly more may become unwieldy and deal with non-critical issues.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs can be defined as “quantifiable measurements, agreed to beforehand, that reflect the critical success factors of an organization. They will differ depending on the organization” (Reh, year unknown). KPIs chosen by the organization should be specifically designed to help focus the organization (through its employees) on what it needs to do in order to succeed. Bauer (2004) notes that “KPIs must emanate from the vision level and cascade through the organization” as shown in Figure 4 below:

Source: Bauer, 2004

KPIs need to be measurable, so it is necessary for a KPI to be clearly defined, and then to be defined the same way over a number of years in order to perform comparisons between years measured. Once KPIs have been established, measurement is focused on targets for each KPI. Because there are many things that are measurable in an organization it is easy to get sidetracked by those that are not critical success factors. However for a KPI to make an impact on the long term sustainability of the organization, only critical success factors should be considered for this purpose. Bauer (2004) says that “selection of the wrong KPIs can result in counterproductive behaviour and sub optimized results”.

Reh (year unknown) also notes that once measurable KPIs have been defined, the organization is in a position to use them in an individual’s performance agreement as part of a performance management system. They can be utilized as a reward indicator and a motivator. As a clearly defined target, with predetermined measurement criteria, it becomes a small task to link the attainment of targets into a performance appraisal. This is the method that the organization utilizes to evaluate and reward the performance of the individual employees within its organization.

Based on the four main perspectives suggested by Kaplan and Norton, a list of goals and measures may include some of the following:

Financial (Shareholder) perspective

  • Goals could include increased profitability, growth and increased return on assets
  • Measures could include cash flows, cost reduction, economic value added, gross margins, profitability, return on capital/equity/investments/sales, revenue growth, working capital, turnover, etc.

Customer perspective

  • Goals could include new customer acquisition, retention and satisfaction.
  • Measures could include market share, customer service, customer satisfaction, number of new/retained/lost customers, customer profitability, number of complaints, delivery times, quality performance, and response time.

Internal perspective

  • Goals could include improved core competencies, improved critical technologies, streamlined processes, and better employee morale.
  • Measures could include efficiency improvements, development/lead/cycle times, reduced unit costs, reduced waste, amount of recycled waste, improved sourcing/supplier delivery, employee morale and satisfaction, internal audit standards, number of employee suggestions, sales per employee, etc.

Innovation and learning perspective

  • Goals could include new product development, continuous improvement, training of employees etc.
  • Measures could include number of new products and percentage of sales from these, number of employees receiving training, hours per employee, number of strategic skills learned, alignment of personal goals with the scorecard.

Each organisation must determine its own strategic goals and activities to be measured. Several organisations have seen Kaplan and Norton’s template as not meeting their particular needs and have either modified it or have devised their own Scorecard. Public sector organisation, for example, may have different aims and objectives and may have to tailor the Scorecard to reflect this.

Finalise the implementation plan

Further discussions, interviews and workshops may be required to fine-tune the detail, and agree strategy, goals and activities to be measured, ensuring that the measures selected focus on the critical success factors. Other important issues that must be resolved before implementation include setting targets or rates or other criteria for each of the measures, and defining how when and where they should be recorded.

Implement the system

An implementation plan should be produced and the whole project communicated to staff. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, as staff should be informed at the beginning of the project and kept up to date on progress. The way in which the purpose of the Scorecard is communicated is vital. Staff should be made to feel that they have an important part to play in achieving corporate goals. Conversely, they should not feel threatened by the measures.

The system for recording and monitoring the metrics should be in place and tested well before the start date, and training in its use should be given to all users as far as possible. The system should automatically record all the data required, though some of the measurements may not be logged manually.

Publicise the results

The results of all measurements should be collated on a regular basis such as daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or as appropriate and may eventually comprise a substantial amount of possibly complicated data. It will be necessary to decide whether to make the full data available to senior management only, to divisional or departmental heads, or to all staff, or whether to provide partial information on a need-to-know basis. Determine the method of publicising the results such as through meetings, newsletters, the organisation’s intranet or other means.

Utilise the results

Any form of business appraisal is not the end in itself, but is a guide to organisation performance and may point to areas (management, operational, procedural, etc.) that require strengthening. Action on the information obtained is an important as the data itself. Indeed, management follow-up action should be seen as an essential part of the process of appraisal.

Review and revise the system

After the first cycle has been completed, a review should be undertaken to assess the success or otherwise of the information gathered and action taken, and whether modification is required to any part of the process.

The benefits of the Balanced Scorecard

Kaplan and Norton (1992) cited the following as the benefits of the usage of the Balanced Scorecard:

  • The BSC focuses the organisation on the few key things needed to create breakthrough performance.
  • The BSC helps to integrate various corporate programs such as quality, re-engineering, and customer service initiatives.
  • The BSC breaks down strategic measures towards lower levels, so that unit managers, operations, and employees can see what is required at their level to achieve excellent overall performance.

2GC Active Management Ltd (2004) has also identified the following benefits from the use of the Balanced Scorecard.

  • The company’s interests become primary
  • Staff tend to have a clearer corporate direction
  • Workers tend to develop better communication and listening skills and teamwork is improved.
  • Understanding of other department’s issues is improved.
  • There is now more focus on intangibles rather than just financials.
  • Interaction between managers in a cross functional capacity is improved.
  • Improvement in clearer individual responsibilities (with collective ownership).
  • Weaknesses and areas of opportunity are highlighted.

The shortfalls of the Balanced Scorecard

Stephen Smith (2006), Senior Vice President and Managing Executive, Rummler-Brache Group in an article on Problems Implementing a Balanced Scorecard stated that there is really nothing wrong with the concept of the BSC. However, the main problem is that, the BSC does not provide practical guidelines for deployment, and some executives view it as a “quick fix” that can easily be installed in their organizations. According to him, implementing a balanced metrics system is an evolutionary process, not a one time task that can be quickly checked off as “completed”. Accordingly, if executives do not recognize this from the beginning and fail to commit to the long term, then the organization will realize disappointing results. Smith (2006) identified the following issues that can cause the BSC initiative to fail:

  • Poorly defined Metrics

Metrics need to be relevant and clear. They should be depicted with visual indicators and are easily understood. In addition, Smith says that, metrics need to be collected at the ideal frequency for making decisions, and defined in such a way that the measurement can be consistently applied across the firm, even if their targets of performance differ. This is because, a system that has inconsistently defined metrics will be vulnerable to criticism by people who want to avoid accountability.

  • Lack of efficient data collection and reporting

Most organisations do not have the system to collect metrics data unlike financial data. As such, for most organisations, if collecting metrics data consumes too much time and energy, they will not be captured. For this reason, it is important to prioritize key performance indicators to ensure that investment spent in metrics will be most relevant to improving organisational performance.

  • Lack of formal review structure

Scorecards work best when they are reviewed frequently enough to make a difference. If a metric value changes on a daily basis and the variables within the control of management can be affected on a daily basis, then they metric should be reviewed on a daily basis. Also, metrics review meetings should follow a standard agenda, with clearly defined roles for all attendees and expectation that follow through on any agreed upon actions will be monitored at each meeting.

  • No process improvement methodology

The value of the BSC system relies on the premise that once performance problems are identified, there is an efficient and effective method for diagnosing and addressing root causes. Solutions can then be developed and performance gaps can be closed. If the organisation does not have the standard methodologies and toolkits for addressing process problems, the amount of effort required to derive a problem solving approach for each new performance gap could eventually damage the performance improvement program as it will be seen as taking too many resources away for daily operations. When that happens, there can be no adaptation and performance will continue to deteriorate. Smith (2006) suggests that, using time-tested process improvement methodologies, perhaps in combination with problem solving methodologies (for example, Six Sigma) can greatly alleviate this problem.

  • Too Much Internal Focus

One major criticism of the BSC is that it encourages an internal focus. This is not as much an indictment of the principle as it is the way companies put the principle into practice. To help overcome this problem, it is important to always start with an external focus – the view of an organisation’s SuperSystem. The goal is to achieve a balance of enterprise level metrics as one assesses the organisation’s market, shareholders, competitors, employees and stakeholders.

Smith (2006) believes that organisations can drive measurable results in adopting this more holistic approach to developing a balanced metrics system.


Performance measurement or management is not a recent development. It has been in existence since the ancient Egyptian days and has been a necessary part of organizational life and is as old as organisations.

The ancient Egyptians had to ‘encourage’ their workers to build the great pyramids – and, unwittingly, they utilized performance management systems to do so. Their system revolved around whipping or maltreating those workers who did not perform to expectation for the achievement of organizational goals. The result of the performance management systems in place is evidenced by the splendid pyramids that they built. There is evidence that other ancient civilizations such as Rome and AD China also had performance management systems (Furnham, 2004).

However, over time, as our understanding of human nature and the environment in which we exist has changed, the importance of managing performance to align individual goals to a common vision has been recognized as being vital to an organization’s success. The necessity of an effective holistic performance measurement and appraisal system, therefore, became apparent.

Performance measurement can be traced back to the mid 1800’s with the cost and management accounting profession (Radnor & McGuire, 2004). This came about due to recognition that tasks that occurred within these, mainly industrialized, organizations could be measured in terms of the time taken to perform a task as well as the budget required to perform the task. Performance measurement was not necessarily linked to individual performance appraisal but rather to assessing the profitability of the organization as a whole. Performance measurement was seen to be concentrated on measuring specific activities (Radnor & McGuire, 2004). Performance measurement seems to have been quite a clear cut choice for businesses to implement for two reasons – firstly, it was driven by the cost and management accounting profession with their focus on measuring financial indicators, particularly in terms of direct labour costs and direct material costs (Neely, Gregory & Platts, 1995) and secondly, because it is easier to measure performance than to manage it.

After much work from the cost and management side in refining the available measures (resulting in the introduction of activity based costing (abc) in the mid 1980’s (Cooper, cited in Neely and co, 1995)) and from the financial accounting side in terms of measures such as Return on Investment (ROI) and Return on Equity (ROE), it became clear that accounting indicators on their own were not necessarily clear predictors of the success or failure of an organization. By the early 1980’s the growing trend to move away from viewing capital assets as the most important to understanding that intellectual or human capital would be the way of the future, had been identified (Peters & Waterman, 1995). Those companies that had a strong belief in their people, not necessarily only their financial indicators, were turning out to be the top companies. Examples of such companies would be Hewlett-Packard with their ‘the HP way’, which included mutual trust and confidence expressed in terms of, for instance, their flexible working hours and open door policy (Peters & Waterman, 1995), and Disney’s description of staff as ‘cast members’ with all staff being recognized on a first name basis from the President down, and all staff being part of ‘the show’ (Peters & Waterman, 1995). These examples show how working with people was infiltrating to the very core of a companies internal operations and how this commitment was reaping rewards in terms of the companies’ bottom line as well as the achievements of its goals and strategies. By the mid to late 1980’s traditional organizational performance measurement systems had many critics (Neely, 1999). For example, it seems that a focus on purely accounting performance measure might have promoted a culture of short-termism (Neely and co. 1995) resulting in managers trying to achieve financial targets to meet their performance measurement objectives, at the expense of long-term sustainability. It was at around this time that Kaplan & Norton (1992) developed and proposed a balanced scorecard to include the measurement of indicators other than financial ones. They proposed four areas of importance including financial but in addition, customer, internal business processes and learning and growth. They felt that these provided a more holistic picture of an organizations’ performance. Kaplan & Norton (1996) then postulated that these scorecards could then be linked to and be drivers of strategy.

Taking factors other than financial ones made organizations performance management systems more complex and hence the increased need to carry out further research into this field. Since the mid-1990’s there has been a marked increase in research of both an academic and a practical nature (Thorpe & Beasley, 2004; Neely, 1999) into the areas of organizational performance measurement and performance management of both the organization as well as the individual. There are many reasons for the current trend to focus on performance management as a whole.

It is clear that in today’s dynamic business environment, to be successful, organizations require some form of measurement system.

Maritz (1995) says that the underlying cultural support of an organisation provides a basis for excellent performance by an individual within that organization. A high performance culture facilitates and rewards potential through factors such as a strong system of values and a credible leadership. As suggested by some theories, the new paradigm recognizes that, today’s world is complex and characterized by randomness and uncertainty and that, small events often have massive and far-reaching consequences (Daft, 1999).

Kaplan and Norton (1992) say that, just as one cannot fly an airplane with just one instrument gauge, one cannot manage a company with just one kind of performance measure. Accordingly the BSC serves as an instrument panel in the cockpit of an airplane. It is a set of interrelated gauges that links seemingly disparate information about a company’s finances and operations. Together, they give a complete view of a company’s performance and strategic direction.

Views of Balanced Scorecard

Leading Indicators

Some companies track their progress exclusively with financial indicators revenue, profit and so on. Balanced Scorecard advocates say that such trailing or lagging indicators are critical, but need the addition of leading indicators – metrics that reflect how well an organisation is executing its strategy. For example, if changing customer mix in some way will increase revenue, then customer mix targets should be clearly set to track how well the business in doing. It is not sufficient to measure the lagging indicator – revenue. The leading indicators concept is a mainstay of the BSC approach, and much credit should be given to the BSC boosters for promoting the idea. It is an idea well worth embracing, whether one is in support or not in support of the BSC.

Balanced Metrics

Some companies do track both leading and lagging indicators, but they may not have enough typesof leading indicators. For instance, they may get stuck in the rut of customer service metrics. That is important but not to the exclusion of other leading indicators such as innovation or employee development. The BSC mandates leading and lagging measurement from multiple perspectives.

Strategy Implementation Foundation

It is one thing to declare a strategy, but quite another to track how well the strategy is being executed. The BSC is one way to help track it. Most strategies can be fleshed out with metrics across at least some of the four prescribed categories of metrics. If goals and accountability are attached to the metrics, then a creditable strategy implementation engine can be said to be in place.

Casey (2004) maintains that, the balanced scorecard can help track how well an organisation implements its strategy but it is not a strategy development template on its own. His criticism is that, companies must have their strategy, and that such strategy ought to be expressed as measurable goals. However, simply populating a BSC template with goals does not mean that the organisation knows where it is going or how to get there. Casey (2004) says that doing so is a recipe for misalignment and that the BSC provides no strategy development template, nor does it claim to.

Kaplan and Norton’s position is that, what cannot be measured cannot be achieved. As such, the measures used affect the behaviour of managers and employees within an organisation. Executives also understand that the traditional financial accounting measures like return on investment and earnings per share can give misleading signals for continuous improvement and innovation which are activities today’s competitive environment demands. The traditional financial performance measures worked well for the industrial era, but they are out of step with the skills and competencies companies are trying to master today.

Managers and academic researchers have tried to remedy the inadequacies of current performance measurement systems. Whereas some have focused making financial measures more relevant, others have decided to forget about the financial measures but rather focus on r like cycle time and defect rates with the believe that the financial measures will follow. The reality however is that, managers do not have to choose between financial and operational measures or rely on one set of measures to the exclusion of the other as no single measure can provide a clear performance target or focus attention on the critical areas of the business. Kaplan and Norton (1992) observed in their research that managers want a balanced presentation of both financial and operational measures.

Based on the above, Kaplan and Norton (2002) devised the BSC – a set measures that gives top mangers a fast but comprehensive view of the business. The BSC includes financial measures that tell the results of actions already taken and complements the financial measures with operational measures that are the drivers of future financial performance. The BSC therefore tailors the measures to fit a company’s particular challenges. That way, one can be sure of getting the performance expected to succeed.

The BSC requires managers to think of their company’s mission and strategy from four key perspectives. This is discussed below based on the theories of Kaplan and Norton (1992).

Customer perspective

Today’s typical corporate mission says something general about customers. The BSC requires specific measures of what customers get in terms of time, quality, performance and service, and cost.

Internal business perspective

This perspective focus on the core competencies processes, decisions and action that have the greatest impact on customer satisfaction. For example, ECI developed operational measures for submicron technology capability, manufacturing excellence, design productivity, and new product introduction. The company’s managers then made sure to “decompose” the measures to department and workstation levels, where much of the action took place.

Innovation and Learning

This perspective focuses on measures which indicate future success. They measure continual improvements to existing products and processes and introduction of new products with expanded capabilities. For example, Milliken & Co. implemented a “ten-four” improvement program, requiring reduction in key adverse measures (defects, missed deliveries, and scrap) by a factor of ten over four years.

Financial perspective

Financial perspective provides measures which indicate whether executives have correctly identified and constructed their measures in the foregoing areas, but they can also help determine future direction. For example, a chemical company created a daily financial statement. Putting income and expense values on every production process helped plant supervisors see where process improvements and capital investments could generate the highest returns.

Gnanapoo sees the balanced scorecard as a management system and not only a measurement system that enables organizations to clarify their vision and strategy and translate them into action. She adds that it provides feedback around both the internal business processes and external outcomes in order to continuously improve strategic performance and results. In her opinion, when the BSC is fully deployed, it transforms strategic planning from an academic exercise into the nerve center of an enterprise.

First of all the balanced scorecard is a way of

  • Measuring organizational, business unit or department success;
  • Balancing long and short term actions;
  • Balancing different measures of success and
  • Financial
  • Customer
  • Internal Operations
  • Human Resource Systems & Development (Learning & growth)
  • A way of tying strategy to measures of action

Gnanapoo maintains that the objective of any measurement system should be to motivate all managers and employees to implement successfully the business units strategy. Those companies that can translate their strategy into measurement system will be able to execute their strategy because they communicate their objectives and their targets. The communication makes managers and employees focus on the critical drivers enabling them to align investments, initiatives and actions accomplishing strategic goals.

Casey (2004) in an article on “A Balanced View of Balanced Scorecard” looks at the various views of the balanced scorecard.

Hendricks and Co’s (2004) initial review before undertaking their research into whether to or not to adopt the BSC indicated that (1) there had been little examination of the factors associated with the adoption of the BSC, and (2) there still is the need to demonstrate that the adoption and implementation of the BSC is associated with improved financial performance. As such they carried out a research specifically examining these two BSC issues.

Their research was motivated by an observation made in a review of the accounting performance measurement literature: “…the use and performance consequences of these (BSC) measures appear to be affected by organizational strategies and the structural and environmental factors confronting the organization. Future research can make a significant contribution by providing evidence on the contingency variables affecting the predictive ability, adoption and performance consequences of various non-financial measures and balanced scorecards" (Christopher D. Ittner and David F. Larcker 1998.)

Specifically, they examined contingency factors including business-level strategy, firm size, environmental uncertainty, and investment in intangible assets. They examined these contingency factors because their discussions with Canadian business executives who were intimately involved with the adoption and implementation of a BSC at their respective organizations highlighted the criticality of many of these factors to the adoption decision.

Their research sample size consisted of 579 Canadian firms, chosen from PC Compustat, with annual sales greater than $10 million. They obtained key informant responses from 179 firms, of which 42 (or 23.5 per cent) reported that they had adopted the BSC approach.

Business strategy

While it has long been argued in the accounting literature that accounting control systems should be designed according to the business strategy of the firm, this premise has yet to be examined with the BSC. Hendricks and Co utilized Miles and Snow’s comprehensive business-level strategic typology that inter-relates organizational strategy, structure and process (Raymond E. Miles and Charles C. Snow 1978). This typology identifies four organizational strategies:

  • Prospectors who continually search for innovative market opportunities and experiment regularly with new responses to emerging trends;
  • Analyzers who operate routinely and efficiently through formal structures and processes, while simultaneously watching competitors for promising new ideas which they then rapidly adopt;
  • Defenders who, given their narrow product market domains, are highly expert in their organization’s area of operation but do little to seek out new opportunities outside their primary domain and
  • Reactors who are unable to respond effectively to known change and uncertainty in their organization’s environment.

Given the broader scope and inclusion of nonfinancial, forward-looking measures in the BSC, they stated posited that the use of the BSC would more likely benefit firms that followed a Prospector or Analyzer strategy, and likely not benefit firms that followed a Defender or Reactor strategy. Therefore, they hypothesized that the propensity to adopt the BSC is positively related to the organization’s choice of a Prospector or Analyzer strategy. They found that BSC adoption was significantly associated with strategy and that firms that followed a Prospector or Analyzer strategy were more likely to adopt the BSC than other firms. One interpretation of this finding is that the BSC may be more useful for some strategy types.

Firm size

Like business strategy, previous accounting research has suggested that a firm’s size can affect the design and use of management control system. As firms grow, problems in communication and control increase, so these organizations are more likely to adopt complex administration systems. As a result, larger organizations will likely depend on more sophisticated information and control systems that use diverse measures. The BSC represents an integrative management tool that is useful for coordinating cross-function and cross-level decisions and activities. They found that BSC adopters were significantly larger than non-adopters.

Environmental uncertainty

Environmental uncertainty has long been viewed in practice and research as a central problem for organizations. Previous accounting research has found that the uncertainty was related to greater usefulness of broad-scope information, and that the demand for broad-based information systems incorporating nonfinancial measures was positively associated with perceptions of environmental uncertainty. The BSC, which incorporates both non-financial and future oriented information, would be particularly critical for firms where environmental uncertainty is high. They found that BSC adopters had significantly higher demand volatility (measured as the coefficient of variation in annual sales changes) than non-adopters.

Investments in intangible assets

While a definitive classification of intangibles remains to be offered, there is agreement on the importance of effectively managing these assets from a control perspective. Indeed, the effective management of intangible assets-which includes, among others, product innovation, company brand, structural assets, and monopolies can be an important driver of business value. The BSC is a notable management tool, since it specifically requires the use of nonfinancial measures directly reflecting the organization’s learning and growth decisions, activities and outcomes. Therefore they hypothesized that the propensity to adopt the BSC was positively related to the firm’s investment in intangible assets but did not find support for this hypothesis when they measured intangibles as the ratio of intangible assets to total assets. Given that the financial accounting model is criticized as being overly conservative with regard to the measurement of intangibles. CHAPTER 3:

Background of Barclays Bank

Barclays Bank is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services, with an extensive international presence in Europe, the USA, Africa and Asia. With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs 147,000 people. Barclays Bank moves, lends, invests and protects money for over 42 million customers and clients worldwide.

Barclays is made up of two major businesses: Global Retail and Commercial Banking (GRCB) and Investment Banking and Investment Management (IBIM). Frits Seegers is Chief Executive of GRCB, which comprises UK Retail Banking, Barclays Commercial Bank, Barclaycard, GRCB Western Europe, GRCB Emerging Markets and Absa. Robert E Diamond Jr is President of Barclays PLC and CEO of Investment Banking and Investment Management, which spans Barclays Capital, Barclays Global Investors and Barclays Wealth.

Barclays’ vision is to become one of the handful of universal banks leading he global financial services industry. This means offering a full range of retail and wholesale services to customers and clients throughout the world. These services include retail, business and private banking, credit cards, investment banking, investment management and wealth management. Barclays’ strategy follows a simple premise: anticipate the needs of their customers and clients, then serve them by helping them achieve their goals.

Barclays is organized into the following business groupings:

  • Investment Banking and Investment Management comprising:
  • Barclays Capital
  • Barclays Global Investors
  • Barclays Wealth.

The organization of Investment Banking and Investment Management gives a single point of strategic direction and control to a group of global businesses which enjoy substantial synergies

  • Global Retail and Commercial Banking comprising:
  • UK Banking; UK Retail Banking and UK Business Banking
  • Barclaycard
  • International Retail and Commercial Banking
  • Absa

The grouping of all our retail, commercial and cards businesses under Global Retail and Commercial Banking (GRCB) gives these businesses a single point of direction and control, thereby increasing the bank’s capability to drive growth and synergies globally and to enter new markets.

The Chief Executive (CE) of Barclays Plc is Mr. John Varley. He was appointed as Group Chief Executive on 1st September 2004, prior to which he had been Group Deputy Chief executive from 1st January 2004.

The first Barclays branch in Ghana was commissioned on 14th February 1917 under the name Barclays Bank of Ghana Limited (BBG) and has since been closely associated with all phases of the country’s development.

Share Structure

Initially BBG was wholly owned by Barclays Plc but in 1972, the government of Ghana acquired 40% in Barclays Ghana. This later reduced to 10% and eventually in June 2003, Barclays PLC acquired the remaining10% shares of the government of Ghana, making Barclays Ghana a wholly owned subsidiary of Barclays Plc.

Organisational Structure

The Barclays Brand

One of the greatest strengths of BBG is its brand. Built over many years of hard work and dedication, the Barclays brand today has come to represent trusted and reliable financial services. The depth of appreciation that Barclays has for the financial market is what distinguishes Barclays from others.

Branches/Customer base

Currently, Barclays Bank of Ghana Limited has a branch network of over 140 branches and still counting. The bank has over 150 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and over 350,000 customers in Ghana.


The vision of Barclays Ghana is “to be the leading contributor to Ghana’s future”


The mission of Barclays is “to be one of the most admired financial services organisations in the world, recognised as an innovative, customer-focused company that delivers superb products and services, ensures excellent careers for our people and contributes positively to the communities in which we live and work”. (Barclays Employee Manual)

Staff Strength

BBG currently has over 2500 employees with about 5000 Direct Sales personnel.

Products / Innovation

Barclays has been the market leader in the area of major innovations in Ghana. Some of the innovative products are SME Business Account, the Microbanking Product, Scheme Loans, Housing Mortgage, “Abapa” – a mass market product, Vehicle and Asset Finance, Premiere Banking among many others.

The products are tailored to meet the motor vehicle and other capital equipment financing needs of the Corporate Banking segment of the market. The bank is already widely testing its Retail Vehicle and Asset Finance product with existing individual and small enterprise customers and expects to hit the market with a full blown offering for this segment in the second quarter of the year.

IT Platform

In 2002, Barclays launched Ghana’s first fully automated telephone banking operation. It was the first to introduce online banking for its corporate clients with Business Master International. Pay Direct, an electronic payroll system was another first in the country.

Prestige Banking

BBG’s strength in product innovation is not restricted to technology only. Prestige Banking is a product specifically targeted at the upper (wealthier) end of the market. It was the first time any bank in Ghana had deliberately segmented its target markets and created products specifically targeted at each segment.


Barclays Ghana’s list of Corporate Banking products and services include credit facilities, cash management and money transmission services, trade finance, deposit and investment Business Master International (online banking). The others are payroll management (Pay Direct), integrated debt finance and risk management, business insurance, wealth management and security services.

Barclays Ghana Treasury provides Global Treasury Services and advisory services to their customers. It also acts as a primary dealer for customers who purchase Treasury Bills. Other Services provided by Barclays Ghana include Salary Processing, Statement Requests, Inter-bank Clearing, ATM/Visa Card Processes and ATM Availability.

The Managing Director

The Managing Director of BBG is Mrs. MARGARET MWANAKATWE and she happens to be the first female to occupy the topmost position in BBG. Her international experience includes lecturing on the MBA programme at Maxims European Institute and working as a Financial Analyst and Management Accountant in Whitbread PLC, McDonnel Douglas Information Systems respectively.

Barclays Africa and Middle East

Barclays Bank of Ghana comes under Barclays Africa and Middle East which also falls under GRCB.

The vision of Barclays Africa and Middle East is simply “to be the leading bank in South Africa and ultimately, the pre-eminent bank on the African continent”. Barclays Africa and Middle East believes that having the vision is not enough and as such, it is very important to know how and what to do to achieve it. For this reason, the leaders of Barclays Africa and Middle East have identified the Five Cs which is synonymous to the Balanced Scorecard. In other words, it is the re-designing of the BSC to suit the needs of BIE. These are specific and provide the guidelines needed to achieve the vision.

For BIE to become the leading bank the focus must be on the following:

Figure 5: The Five Cs


Hit the numbers


Put customer first


Be a high performing



Be in control


Engage in the community



In Chapter 1, the purpose of this research was detailed as to describe and analyse the role the balanced scorecard plays in the achievement of a company’s vision and strategy. The study will be specifically focused on Barclays Bank of Ghana Ltd. Therefore, the specific objectives of the study are the following:

  • To find out if the balanced scorecard is being used by Ghanaian companies to measure performance and to direct such companies towards the achievement of organisational goals considering the fact that it has been around for the past sixteen (16) years.
  • To examine the extent to which the balanced scorecard drives performance of organisations and the extent to which it leads to the achievement of the company’s vision and strategy.
  • Based on the findings, make recommendations for implementation towards the use of the balanced scorecard approach to drive performance and to achieve the vision and strategy of Ghanaian companies.


The above objectives raise the following research questions:

  • Are mission statements of organizations translated into action plans?
  • Is the Balanced Scorecard useful in translating those mission statements into action plans?
  • What is the impact of the Balanced Scorecard on a company’s vision and strategy?
  • What is the impact of the balanced scorecard on performance of the organization before and after the introduction of the balanced scorecard?

The study will be conducted in Ghana with a case study Barclays Bank of Ghana Ltd. During the study, interviews will be conducted with officers and managers of the bank. Apart from personal interviews, this study will also make use of questionnaires to gather more information. This study will also involve substantial level of desk research from books, journals and other publications on the internet and libraries. The key text for this research will however be articles published by Kaplan and Norton in the Harvard Business Review (HBR).

More specifically, study intends to undertake the following:

  • Conduct interviews with head of Performance Management department of Barclays Bank.
  • The study will also send out questionnaires which will assist in gathering more information on the effectiveness of the balanced scorecard in achieving the vision and strategy of the bank.
  • Write a thesis that combines an understanding of the relevant theory and previous researches with the results of the researcher’s study.

Case Study Methodology and Research paradigm

A case study can be defined as “an empirical enquiry that: investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context; when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident; and in which multiple sources of evidence are used” (Yin 1984). This definition is supported Stake (1995). Mitchell (2000) states that the “case study refers to an observer’s data: that is, the documentation of some particular phenomenon or set of events which has been assembled with the explicit end in view of drawing theoretical conclusions from it”.

An advantage for utilizing the case study methodology is that it allows for an in-depth understanding of a specific phenomenon within a bounded system. Of particular relevance is the uniqueness of the Balanced Scorecard and this is applicable to Barclays Bank of Ghana Ltd. Case studies can be either quantitative or qualitative in nature, but due to the interpretive nature of this research, a qualitative methodology (Guba & Lincoln, 1994) has been adopted.

There are a variety of case study purposes such as descriptive, explanation, evaluation and exploratory (Winegardner, K.E. year unknown). Descriptive research seeks to identify themes within a case through a ‘rich’ or ‘thick’ description encompassing as much of the case study detail as possible. It defines the purpose of descriptive research as the portrayal of an accurate profile of persons, events, or situations; this in turn requires extensive knowledge of the research subject in order to identify appropriate aspects on which to gather information. Exploratory research “answers questions of how and why”. This study is a combination of these two main purposes, with a strong focus on describing the BSC situation and why it would benefit or has benefited Barclays Bank of Ghana Ltd and its individuals.

Sampling Procedures:

The study proposes to use systematic sampling for the purpose of this research. Systematic sampling has been chosen for the following advantages it has over other forms of sampling techniques:

  • The sample selection is easier in that, a random number is picked referred to as the random start and the rest of the sample automatically follows.
  • It is more convenient when dealing with a very large population and a large sample is needed.
  • The sample is distributed evenly over the listed population.

Data Collection

The data for this case study was collected using “multiple sources and techniques” (Soy, 1997). For this case study, the research was carried out through a process of document analysis, unstructured and structured interviews and questionnaires, and participant observation.

Staff Opinion

Data was collected from some staff of BBG using questionnaires. Interviews were also conducted with the performance analyst face to face and record made of responses. Interview questions were developed based on research of the available literature. Questions covered aspects of BSC including its ability to motivate employees to work towards the achievement of the vision and strategy of the bank. It also sought to examine the knowledge of staff of the mission statement of the bank. This is very important as knowledge of the mission statement by employees will go a long to ensure that they work to achieve corporate goals and objectives. An added advantage for using the questionnaires is that it enables the researcher to bring out rich details.

Questionnaires were distributed printed copy to staff through hand delivery and collected on due date by the researcher. The researcher further collected information by noting ad hoc comments made during unstructured interviews with staff.


Smith (2003) defines Observation as “describing or representing a setting”. The observation method used in this case was unstructured and informal. It consisted of the researcher taking notes at any time when he felt it was necessary or of importance for instance, during a staff meeting. The main reason for collecting data using the observation method was to enhance the validity and reliability of the study. Because much of the staff information was collected in the format of questionnaire with written answers, the researcher wanted to ensure that the written answers corresponded to the behaviour and verbal communications of the staff in their every day environment.


Barclays Bank of Ghana has modified the Balanced Scorecard to suit its needs. Instead of the traditional four (4) perspectives: financial, customer, internal business processes, learning and growth, BBG measures performance from five (5) perspectives normally referred to as the five (5) Cs as follows:

Colleague – Staff are expected to be a role model colleague

Company – Staff are expected to grow the company

Community – Staff are expected to engage in their communities

Customer – Staff are expected to radically improve customer service

Control – Staff are expected to be in control as control is always a key consideration in all that they do

It is expected that when these 5Cs are properly coordinated, the vision and strategy would be achieved. Barclays Africa and Middle East has the vision of being the leading bank in South Africa and ultimately, the pre-eminent bank on the African continent.


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