Purpose - This paper aims to consider how and to what extent it is possible to interpret a performance management system (PMS) as a typical control mechanism or in a more innovative way as a learning tool. PMSs are typically used for planning and coordination purposes. However, they may also be used as an opportunity to foster learning inside the organization. Design/methodology/approach - The empirical analysis was carried out during January-May 2014. A single case study was developed, in the first phase, through document analysis and semi-structured interviews with three top managers, to investigate the purpose and rationale of the design of the PMS. The investigation then continued with non-participant observation. Findings - The picture shows the dominance of “command and control” thinking, based on a cybernetic control system connected to targets and linking the achievement of these targets to individual performance. Practical implications - This paper helps to contextualize reflections on PMSs and potential learning outcomes in knowledge organizations, with specific reference to the airport industry. Originality/value - This paper contributes to the extant debate on the relationship between PMSs and learning. Traditionally, the literature has focused only on particular aspects of PMSs. Other authors, relying on a contingent approach, have instead put forward the need of a more comprehensive and integrated frameworks encompassing organic conception of PMSs, as well as of the interdependencies among their components. In the case study under scrutiny in this paper, adaptive or single-loop learning is taking place, in which adaptive changes occur but do not lead to any major changes.

The boundaries of a performance management system between learning and control

CANONICO, PAOLO;MERCURIO, Lorenzo;
2015

Abstract

Purpose - This paper aims to consider how and to what extent it is possible to interpret a performance management system (PMS) as a typical control mechanism or in a more innovative way as a learning tool. PMSs are typically used for planning and coordination purposes. However, they may also be used as an opportunity to foster learning inside the organization. Design/methodology/approach - The empirical analysis was carried out during January-May 2014. A single case study was developed, in the first phase, through document analysis and semi-structured interviews with three top managers, to investigate the purpose and rationale of the design of the PMS. The investigation then continued with non-participant observation. Findings - The picture shows the dominance of “command and control” thinking, based on a cybernetic control system connected to targets and linking the achievement of these targets to individual performance. Practical implications - This paper helps to contextualize reflections on PMSs and potential learning outcomes in knowledge organizations, with specific reference to the airport industry. Originality/value - This paper contributes to the extant debate on the relationship between PMSs and learning. Traditionally, the literature has focused only on particular aspects of PMSs. Other authors, relying on a contingent approach, have instead put forward the need of a more comprehensive and integrated frameworks encompassing organic conception of PMSs, as well as of the interdependencies among their components. In the case study under scrutiny in this paper, adaptive or single-loop learning is taking place, in which adaptive changes occur but do not lead to any major changes.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/631867
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