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Defining Balance Scorecard

Using the Balanced Scorecard to Monitor the Transformation of Organisational Capital, to Sustain Long Term Competitive Advantage in Retail Community Pharmacy in Malta.

The current study elucidates illustratively the system of performance measurement that can be used as a base to oversee the transformation of organizational capital in a bid to sustain competitive advantage during the long term. For this, the current study embarks upon the notion of balanced scorecard and elucidates illustratively about evolution and detailed history of balanced scorecard. Furthermore, this study undertakes analysis of subsisting literature presented by different scholars on the subject matter under deliberation. This segment therefore systematically reviews past literature to examine whether BSC can be considered to be an ideal performance management system for Retail community pharmacy. The study also culminates with a detailed discussion on the establishment of whether a correlation exists between the two sets of results (qualitative and quantitative data), that is to say, whether literature on past events are indicative of future outcomes. Also, the study presents certain uncommonly agreed upon perspectives that can qualify for inclusion in the balanced scorecard for addition of value.

The balance scorecard is referred to as a mechanism of performance measurement system that acts as an attractor tool contributing to enhancement of transformation procedure and finally to competitive advantage of the corporation (Singh et al. 2018). Fundamentally, balance scorecard can be utilized by top managers to assist in the process of formulation of strategy of the corporation and ways to measure level of performance (Hakkak and Ghodsi 2015). There are different perspectives that can be broadly categorised as learning and growth perspective, capabilities of the employees, information system as well as capabilities of the organization.  

As rightly indicated by Singh et al. (2018), long term objectives can be illustrated as the outcome of the firm intending to attain over a specified time period. Chiarini (2016)  says that managers can be able to scope their own target in four different perspectives. This includes enhancement of revenue from stretched amount of sales to subsisting customers, presentation of solutions to different targeted clients, enhancement of excellence implementation in a bid to satisfy demands of the customers by means of continuous enhancements. Also, this also includes alignment of incentives as well as rewards with the business strategy. Chiarini (2016) suggests that grand strategy can be referred to as a grand strategy that is necessarily a comprehensive tactic guiding diverse major activities formulated to achieve long term objectives.

Four Different Perspectives of the Balanced Scorecard

-Perspective of customer: Long term outlook implies offering complete solutions to targeted customers. Nonetheless, employees have the need to realize the position they intend to arrive at.  There are numerous business entities that have a corporate mission to concentrate on specifically customers (Mehralian et al. 2017). Hence, performance of a business entity from the perspective of the customers has now become a priority for firm’s management. Distinctly, in case if business units intend to attain long term superior financial performance, then they have the need to generate and deliver better financial performance. There is also need to generate as well as deliver products/services that are necessarily valued by clients. Wu and Liao (2014) suggests that the customer perspective can help business concerns to align customer outcome dimensions that include share of the market, acquisition as well as retention of customers, satisfaction of the customers, profitability of customers, targeted set of customers as well as specific market fragments. Essentially, this also aids in recognition and at the same time measurement, explicitly, specific value propositions that they distribute to different target customers along with market segments (Malagueño et al. 2017). In itself, value proposition replicates different drivers together with the lead indicators for customer outcome dimensions.

-Learning and growth: The perspective of learning as well as growth can align incentives along with rewards of the employees with the stratagem. This dimension of the balance scorecard effectively helps in augmentation of three different groups in a business concern. In particular, human resources that concentrates on development strategies can help in attracting as well as retaining talents. Again, learning and growth dimension also affects the group namely, information technology (Dudin and Frolova 2015). In particular information technology also delivers applications that upholds strategy, develops data of customers along with information system. In addition to this, the perspective of organizational culture also enhances culture of the organization and alignment also generates a customer-centric culture, align objectives of the employees to accomplishment, sharing knowledge regarding best exercises and customers.

Perspective of internal processes: At a time when a corporation can distinctly shape objectives regarding what they intend to deliver can help in determining strategies. Essentially, internal procedures can be regarded as the core factor of attainment. Perkins et al. (2014) suggest that managers have the need to define a all-inclusive internal process that starts with innovation functions (recognizing existing as well as future needs of the customers and thereafter designing a new solution to satisfy the identified requirements). The internal process continues by means of operational processes (that includes delivering subsisting products as well as services to clients) (Zhijun et al. 2014). Finally, the internal process ends with deliverance of after services. Perkins et al. (2014) suggests that the entire process of acquiring objectives as well as dimensions for particularly internal business procedures perspective reflects on the differences between the balanced scorecard and conventional system of performance measurement. However, system of performance measurement concentrates on controlling as well as enhancing different existent responsibility centres as well as departments (Sands et al. 2016).

Perspective of customer


Figure: Core Measures of Customer Perspective

(Source: Teklehaimanot et al. 2016)

As rightly indicated by Teklehaimanot et al. (2016), balanced scorecard is said to keep hold of financial perspective as financial dimensions can be considered to be important in summarizing different measureable economic upshots of activities already undertaken. Fundamentally, financial performance dimensions replicate whether the strategy of the company, process of implementation along with execution can contribute towards augmentation of bottom line. Common financial goals relatable to firm’s profitability are enumerated by operating earnings, return earned on employed capital or else economic value added (Alolah et al. 2014).

In itself, there are three recognized stages of life cycle of business, namely, growth, sustain and thereafter harvest. Growth phase refers to the early stage of the business lifecycle during which products/services of the company has considerable growth potential (Agrawal et al. 2016). However, corporations operating at the sustain stage can attract huge investment as well as reinvestment, however have the need to receive adequate returns on firm’s invested capital. In essence, these businesses are probable to maintain their subsisting share of the market and develop their business (Perramon et al. 2016). Thereafter, at the time when business entities reach maturity phase of business life cycle, the entity harvests the investments undertaken in the prior two stages. The main objective of this phase is to optimize flow of cash to the business concern.


Figure: Balanced Scorecard Framework

(Source: Busco and Quattrone 2015)

Historically, business concerns monitored performance founded primarily on principles of financial accounting. As suggested by Martello et al. (2016), records of bookkeeping on financial dealings can be observed thousands of years back at the time when these schemes were used by Egyptians, Phoenicians as well as Sumerians to aid commercial transactions. However, after a few centuries, particularly during the time of exploration, actions of worldwide trading corporations were measured and witnessed using double entry system of . Thereafter, with advent of the industrial revolution during the 19th century, evaluation of financial performance using innovative methods began. During the period 1970s-80s a common expression of dissatisfaction with the conventional financial dimensions became widespread (Zizlavsky 2014). However, during the period of 1980s and the period of early 1990s, this dissatisfaction directed to a series of multi-dimensional performance measurement structures.

In essence, the conceptual foundation for specifically balanced scorecard was designed during the period 1980s-1990s by numerous academicians as well as practitioners in diverse fields namely management accounting, performance enumeration plus accounting. During the period 1990s, the Tableau de Board was developed by a French academician (Coe and Letza 2014). This was a performance measurement mechanism by engineers that associated stratagems to both financial as well as non-financial dimensions. Regrettably, Tableau de Board was certainly not brought into practice. During the period 1920s DuPont Corporation developed the performance measurement system that concentrated on return on investment calculations that again directed to the use of numerous financial ratios (Lawrie and Sulver 2015).  Thereafter, period of Post-World War II actions shifted the concentration on initiatives on quality as well as measurement of quality that again led to upshot that were not exclusively financial. Hansen and Schaltegger (2016) correctly mentioned that Activity Based Costing can be considered as the unique thought that directed towards development of the framework of Balanced Scorecard. Bergeron (2017) mentions that activity based costing is an accounting process of assigning costs of resources by means of diverse activities undertaken to design products/services for different customers. As such, this is an attempt to comprehend superior product, costs of customers as well as productivity. Bergeron (2017) recommended a balanced view on operations of the corporation consisting of different financial dimensions along with dimensions associated to strategy of marketing, works of research and development, maintenance of social accountabilities and welfare of employees. The notions of triple bottom line with social accounting were necessarily introduced during the period 1990s (Pimentel and Major 2014). These concepts were popularized in response to the need to track and at the same time confirm corporate profits. Triple Bottom Line is necessarily a performance reporting framework concentrated on sustainability necessities of business concerns worldwide (Hoque 2014). In actual fact, this notion suggests concentration on three social responsibilities that include enhancing economic prosperity, environmental protection as well as social equity. The advent of the information era during the 20th century made several suppositions of the industrial age outmoded. Bergeron (2017) highlighted that continual enhancement methodologies namely total quality management, reengineering of business processes along with involvement of employees stress the requirement of performance dimensions for delivering impetus to this kind of performance enhancements.

Learning and growth

Throughout the years, the balanced scorecard evolved from being a performance measurement tool introduced by Kaplan and Norton to an effective tool for implementation of strategies. Keyes (2016) pointed out that the balanced scorecard can acknowledge diverse deficiencies in different system of business performance measurement. This system is entirely dependent on financial dimensions and endeavours to overcome the deficiencies of subsisting measurement systems by way of enumerating and evaluating outcomes across wide range of actions. Hansen and Schaltegger (2016) mention three different stakeholders namely, shareholders (financial point of view), customers (associations with customers) and employees (referring to internal business procedures along with learning and growth). However, this concept ignores two important stakeholders namely environmental as well as social matters. This leads to examination of justification of inclusion of other factors in the framework (de Andrade et al. 2016).

Recent researches on balance scorecard in retail setting

Prior literature indicates towards the fact that for a balance scorecard to generate optimal performance, different facets need to be part of the arrangement. Studies conducted by academicians stresses on two different facets namely, effectiveness of information and support of managers of the entire system. Essentially, employees have the need to understand that system delivers effectual information (Cooper et al. 2017). Case studies on retailer namely Wildcat was hugely supportive of project as represented in the participation rate of survey of over and above 72%. Particularly, Wildcat managers notices that balanced scorecard is normally advantageous and this report about a positive attitude towards the same. Furthermore, managers can report favourable awareness for most of the characteristics of BSC along with functionality. It is also observed that positive managerial approaches towards BSC are related to higher scores (Bobe et al. 2017). This in turn can be related to higher financial performance. In case of retailers, conventional financial dimension at the operating management level is actual sales compared to sales relative to specifically budgeted sales. A corporation is a small number of merchandising corporations that is in charge of large proportion of retail market of the product (Coe and Letza 2014). Different conventional financial profit dimensions that are delayed until the end of reporting period, sales-to-plan information is available virtually on demand by the manager. Essentially, an issue is about timeliness in retail setting in which managers concentrate on data on sales (Hawari and Tahar 2015). The utilization of multi-dimensional performance measurement system that incorporates varied non-financial measures can lead to delayed process of reporting compared to sales based financial measures.

Perspective of internal processes

Balanced scorecard can be used to enhance retail operations. For example, Tesco Plc can be considered to be a worldwide as well as general merchandising retail firm established in the UK. In this company, the property team is said to be at the central part of ongoing concern. Essentially, operations particularly in property includes diverse aspects of purchasing, building to particularly maintaining the stores. The company uses balanced scorecard for the purpose of driving performance in the area of property segment of the business. Management of the firm is of the view that basic principle of any system of measurement is essentially to highlight specific areas of improvement (Coe and Letza 2014). In case if one fails to enumerate, then it becomes difficult to control or else improve the operations. Therefore, steering wheel can be considered to be an important instrument to gauge performance and to steer overall business in the correct direction. By means of corporate governance, both systems and framework to uphold in position, this can be considered to be vast value-add to any kind of business. Particularly, at the firm Tesco, management use Steering Wheel that was developed based on the principles of a balanced scorecard (Beard and Humphrey 2014). Essentially, this was quickly as well as effectually rolled to diverse departments of the company and is an important part of administration strategy at diverse echelons. As mentioned in a study by Chiarini (2016), the stores of Tesco have a visual display of the particular steering wheel and key dimensions behind it can be updated each and every week for members of the staff to operate in a single direction. Especially within the role, management of the firm utilize the steering wheel as a part of agenda of the meeting on property leadership for making certain that the focus is at the top level. In itself, any kind of under-performing dimensions thereafter are put forward in the meeting with appropriate plan of action as well as timeliness. In essence, this is also complimented by particularly a visible along with effective plan of communication for essentially the steering wheel. This takes in display of wheel, summary as well as actions and diverse change projects that are initiated to maintain the dimensions performing as required. As correctly indicated by Cooper et al. (2017), balance score card is used by retail firms as this cam assist everyone to comprehend what the specific strategy implies for them specially where they operate and the reason why it is significant. Thus, it can be hereby mentioned that steering wheel of Tesco (indicating scorecard) is in essence a visual way of enumerating the performance, way of examining the way the company is doing and specific areas where the business needs to concentrate. That is to say specifically, management of Tesco cannot think about diminishing costs of procurement, while diminishing overall quality of stores that customers to shop (Staš et al.  2015). Therefore, such kind of scorecard essentially makes it more significant to make certain that the innovative thoughts along with solutions are more innovative and do not necessarily have negative consequences. This is so because this can lead to loss of sales during the long term. Particularly in case of property, management of Tesco concentrates on distribution across different areas namely Customer, Operations, Finance and People (Cunha Callado and Jack 2015).

Financial Perspective

Prior of implementation of balanced scorecard, Wildcat In, a popular retailer, essentially added performance dimensions since it is required to solve a specific problem or else issue. This directed the way towards performance measurement system that was neither concise nor well structured (Dudin and Frolova 2015). The retailer Wildcat’s balanced scorecard comprises of dimensions that analyses performance of stores. The dimensions for pertinent stores are essentially aggregated to evaluate performance of particularly district along with regional managers. Different choice dimensions of the retailer replicates desires of the management to promote yearly goal although culture of Wildcat indents administrators to mainly concentrate on one specific dimension that is necessarily sales to plan (Akyuz et al. 2015). Dimensions included in system of performance are necessarily sales to plan that are essentially a comparison of actual sales to mainly budgeted sales (Dudin and Frolova 2015). Other dimensions include evaluation of customer service, analysis of shrinkage, various company specific dimensions for efficacies of store, particular communication as well as service (Nielsen and Nielsen 2015). Furthermore, company specific dimension of efficacy of store in different areas namely supply chain management, systems of communication as well as service is used in Wildcat. Dimensions also include in store audits, a specific dimension of efficiency in particular programs namely special orders for different customers, food service along with operations. In addition to this, position specific dimensions are also utilized by management of Wildcat.

Approach of BSC and implementation of strategy

As rightly put forward by Busco and Quattrone (2015), implementation in view of operational level, the mission needs to be recognized as corporate objectives and as a specific tool, associating long as well as short term objectives so as to appear at the financial objectives. Particularly, within the context of BSC, a corporation can translate specific long term aims into operational aims, different actions as well as dimensions in all the way through four perspectives. In particular, cause as well as effect chain associates the strategy from particularly top to down, and again overturn from bottom-top particularly within control scheme (Martello et al. 2016). In particular, team as well as individual scorecard can associate daily work with department objectives along with corporate

Correlation between qualitative as well as quantitative data can be examined between two different sets of outcomes. Even though results of the past performance are not indicative of particularly future outcomes, this essentially delivers effective information and exerts influence on the future decisions. Therefore, the necessities for particularly performance measurement system need to monitor past performance for recording, saving, analysing as well as comparing the same (Mitchell and Nørreklit 2017). As correctly mentioned by Kang et al. (2015), there are different operational stages as well as businesses that have diverse purposes. Therefore, correlation is said to subsist between the past results with the desired outcomes. As such, on one hand, there is modern management tactic that is concentrated on analysis of growth as well as development of potential (Harden and Upton 2016). Again, on the other hand, there are several vital indicators associated to historical experience of corporation. As such, so long as this specific decision is pertinent and relatable, it needs to taken into account. There are certain vital issues that need to discussed in this regard. As such, firms might consider carrying out comparative analysis of profit margin percentage to the past incidents (Behrouzi et al. 2014). Again, companies producing innovative product can concentrate on past models and develop the same beyond this point.

As rightly put forward by Shen et al. (2016), BSC enumerates formulated base on specifically strategic aims within four different perspectives. In essence, it does not necessarily replicate the competitors along with environmental corporations particularly in high competitiveness. Fundamentally, performance measurement mainly handles overall outcome, and one of the most important purposes is to lessen and alleviate overall variations in particularly work products or else work procedures. In essence, the primary objective is to come into agreement with sound decisions regarding actions influencing product/processes as well as its outputs. In essence, there are two different categories of dimension that can be compared. Particularly, qualitative as well as abstract measurements can be considered to be extremely difficult for framing reliable decisions (Cheng and Humphreys 2016). Again, quantitative measurements can be said to suit as well as fit business concerns that consist of diverse principles. Therefore, it can be hereby said that business concerns need to be very cautious in the process of designing and selecting systems of measurements in a bid to avert a misleading decision (Lueg and Vu 2015). Thus, it can be hereby inferred that there exists a certain association between the qualitative and quantitative data on the matter under deliberation.

As rightly put forward by Agrawal et al. (2016), there are several pitfalls and limitations that need to be avoided at the time of implementation of balance scorecard. Essentially, there is lack of well-defined stratagem in business that can affect design of the balance scorecard. Teklehaimanot et al. (2016) suggests that balance scorecard is said to depend to a large extent on a well-defined stratagem along with understanding of the associations between strategic aims and dimensions. In essence, without this foundation, process of implementation of balance scorecard is not likely to be successful.

As correctly mentioned by Perkins et al. (2014) several managers suppose that can reap advantages of the balance scorecard by utilizing a broad range of non-financial dimensions. Nevertheless, care needs to taken for identification of not only lagging dimensions that illustrate past performance, but also leading dimensions that can be utilized to design future performance. In essence, it is normally not adequate to adopt the dimensions utilized by other successful business concerns. In this case, each business firm has the need to put in the effort to recognize dimensions that are suitable for own strategy as well as competitive position (Calderon Molina et al. 2016).

In this context, it can be said that each and every business considers profit as the main objective of the corporation. It is for this reason management of corporation is conventionally focussed on overall profitability, share of market and many others (Dudin and Frolova 2015). However several scholars have considered sustainability factor as an important aspect that can combine financial as well as non-financial dimensions into all-inclusive performance management scheme. Basically, balance scorecard was adopted by corporations all around the world to execute corporate strategy; therefore, it can be regarded as a bridge to apply sustainability strategy and associate objectives of corporate sustainability with actions as well as performance outcomes.

Perkins et al. (2014) suggests that sustainability along with associated issues with sustainable environment can be considered to be one of most important components in strategy of corporation. In essence, sustainability can be referred to as a development that satisfies the requirements of the current time without compromising with the capability of future generations to satisfy their own requirements. Teklehaimanot et al. (2016) stated that performance of organization is combined with sustainable growth as well as behaviour. In essence, sustainability comprises of broader aspects in the fields of ecology, environment, sociology, welfare of individuals and their standards of life. Particularly, from this specific viewpoint, sustainability notion is said to exert influence future of the business concern.  As mentioned by Agrawal et al. (2016), the technique of BSC ignores environmental as well as social facets as important pillars of a sustainable business in their conventional form. Shen et al. (2016) says that BSC can assist to take in different facets pertinent for attaining sustainability into account at once as well as in a balanced way. Sustainable balanced scorecard can be regarded as a promising structure for enumerating, handling as well as reporting the outcomes of corporate sustainable stratagem. Kang et al. (2015) suggests that there are three different scenarios in which sustainable strategy can be incorporated into BSC models by organizations. The first scenario includes integration of environmental as well as social facets into the subsisting four different conventional dimensions (Janeš 2014). The second perspective refers to a supplementary perspective that can be generated to take in both social as well as environmental facets into consideration. In addition to this, the third scenario refers to perspective of formulation of specific environmental or else social scorecard

As rightly indicated by Busco and Quattrone (2015), scholars have also explored into the process of inclusion of the aspect of spirituality into the balanced scorecard. Spirituality can be considered as a non-financial dimension for the balance scorecard. Martello et al. (2016) says that spirituality can be proposed as a probable supplementary dimension that can augment balance scorecard. Consequently, the augmented BSC would necessarily incorporate facets of spirituality as a vital dimension that exerts impact on employees as well as employers. Again, these employees along with employers are said to be important drivers of financial performance. On the whole, the proposed dimension is said to strengthen overall efficacy of the tool. As per the opinion of Coe and Letza (2014), the important principle that is illustrated as intangible and a lively energy in an individual and for that fact, every individual can be considered to be a person’s spirit. Cooper et al. (2017) suggests that spirituality in the place of work can be illustrated as workplace that identifies that workforces essentially have an inner life that necessarily nourishes and gets nourished by meaning work that occur in the context of society. Hansen and Schaltegger (2016) described workplace spirituality as a specific structure of values of corporation substantiated in the culture. This again can promote experiences of transcendence by means of processes of work, helping their senses of being associated to others in a manner that delivers feelings of completeness as well as joy. According to Keyes (2016), an assessment of approximately 140 articles were conducted for studying impact of spirituality on enhancing performance of employees along with organizational efficacies based on three different perspectives. The three different perspectives are based on three premises. The first premise states that spirituality augments welfare of employee as well as quality of life. The second premise mentions that spirituality delivers employees a specific sense of purpose together with implication at work. The third implication states that spirituality delivers employees a particular sense of interconnected as well as community. This was essentially concluded that there is an intricate paradigm shift in organizational sciences, theory of management and practice in the last two decades as per some researches. Therefore, this paradigm shift has diverse effects and accomplishments on the corporations in diverse ways. For example, there are stretchy work arrangements for different employees, telecommuting as well enhanced concentration on stratagems of empowerment (Bergeron 2017). In essence, this is carried out to permit greater improvement as well as participation of employees in the business concern. As stated by Hoque (2014), this paradigm shift can be considered to be innovative as this helps enrichment of mind, fulfilment of heart and spirit growing for different employees.  Therefore, results of the review divulged a substantiation to uphold the opinion that programs arranged for spirituality in the place of work can not only have effective outcome such as enhanced joy, greater level of satisfaction, peace and tranquillity and increased commitment in the job, but also present augmented level of productivity, lessened absenteeism as well as turnover, and facilitate promotion of greater degree of performance of the business concern


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