Adopting a contemporary performance management system
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Purpose – The purpose of this qualitative research is to explore the characteristics and issues related to the transition of a UAE-based fast-growth small-to-medium enterprise (FGSMEs) from the traditional performance management system (PMS) to a modern PMS through a design of a potential balanced scorecard (BSC) and strategy map for the company. Design/methodology/approach – The study was conducted in one of the FGSMEs that serves more than 16,000 farmers across the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A qualitative case study methodology was used in this study. The focus was on “how” questions and exploratory analysis of primary and secondary data supported by in-depth interviews with senior managers. Findings – This research highlights the adoption of a new, more proactive performance management accounting – the BSC. It was found that the BSC initiatives already exist in the company but not clearly linked together and directed toward the effective implementation of BSC system. It was found that these initiatives were initiated by the interests of different work units but not properly integrated as one whole company system. Such initiatives if integrated together and aligned with the overall objectives and strategies of the company can facilitate the comprehensive adoption of the BSC system and maximize the possibility of achieving better measurement and management of organizational performance. Research limitations/implications – The study was limited to the UAE and it focussed exclusively on a single fast-growing enterprise. The results presented may not suitable to be generalized or extended to other contexts. Practical implications – Our study highlights the need for better understanding of the use of non-traditional-measurement mechanisms like the BSC, that may substitute for the roles of financial-based performance measurements and lead to superior performance to our case company. This study suggested that many of the roles played by traditional performance management can be substituted by, or supported by other mechanisms at the corporate level like the BSC system and the detailed design of a potential BSC and strategy map for the company will act as a guide to help in bringing the modern performance management techniques and tools into the other Eastern FGSMEs also. Originality/value The paper contributes to the literature by being one of the first to study contemporary PMS within a middle-eastern context.