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“Bridging the Great Divide: Strategic and Operating Plans using the Balanced Scorecard” article Analysis Article Summary (identifying the problem structure) “Bridging the Great Divide: Strategic and Operating Plans using the Balanced Scorecard” work presented by Antonio Frances (1997) deals with SYSTEM PROBLEMS and discusses the idea of balanced scorecard and other new tools that have the potential for creating more work for those who already have plenty of it. Author shows that within the organization or group, data that is required may not initially exist. It will take time to research and find the most appropriate outcomes and processes to measure. This will be especially difficult if an organization has a track record of starting and then abandoning concepts like Total Quality Management and the Balanced Scorecard. Cynical people will tend to want to wait it out, assuming that if they ignore it long enough, it will go away. Author points out that there are also political issues to recognize. Information is power, and some managers may resist things they perceive as a challenge to their power base. It will be up to senior officials to demand, but not request that specific quantitative measures be created.

 

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Likewise, it will be up to senior officials to make sure the various nontraditional measures do not get lost in the shuffle. Applying problem solving method (Category I) Category I of the problem solving method will fit best into the methods outlined in the article. The approaches defined by the Category I and characterized by Antonio Frances are programmable, routine, generic, computational, negotiated, and are subject to compromise. In other words a balanced scorecard offers the manager a set of clearly defined tools and procedures that are employed in the effective problem solving processes. (Validating goals) Frances (1997) proposes to use these guidelines for implementing an effective feedback system: A. Develop a mission or purpose and 20/20 vision (institution’s direction) about where you want to go by involving as many levels as possible. Encourage members to question, dispute, interact, and develop a sense of ownership. B. Understand your core competencies; assess liabilities and capabilities. C. Set high expectations using specific goals and objectives, but avoid trying to be unrealistic.

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Communicate and reinforce those expectations, goals, and objectives and why they are important. Listen to those who resist and try honestly to consider their point of view. D. Build trust and recognize that this is probably your hardest task. Do it by being honest, fair, open, and trustworthy. Always take the high ground. Frequently assess how things are progressing by going outside your inner circle. Use anonymous surveys to help encourage this trust. E. Clarify each person’s individual role, responsibility, and specific duties. Keep it simple by focusing on the big picture. This includes listing people’s day-to-day duties and what is expected to be done in terms of outcomes and processes. Ask them for their help in writing job descriptions. Revise descriptions whenever they change, and empower people to have as much control as possible over those areas. Inductive method (diagnosing causes) The balanced scorecard problem solving method can be best characterized under the inductive method because the balanced scorecard allows one to move from specific evidence to very general conclusions about the particular process or group of individuals.

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Inductive method begins with a set of evidence or observation about some members of a grouping; it is based on the evidence or observation conclusions are reached about all members of grouping; and conclusion can be called into question by challenging decision premises and finding contrary evidence or observations. Assets (Improvements) This integration of one critical outcome to another critical result and main process to critical outcome is a key feature of balanced scorecard idea discussed by Farnces (1997). Outcomes and process measures each have their advantages and disadvantages. Only by integrating the two can each build and support the other. For instance, outcomes are often not sensitive as a measure of quality; the absence of a bad outcome does not necessarily mean good quality. Likewise, process measures are not necessarily specific measures of quality. As such, the mere presence of a process does not necessarily imply good quality. In fact, increasing process measures are sometimes achieved more easily than outcomes.

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(Applying solution) Integrating both outcome and process feedback is an essential part of realistic personal goal setting. Studies have shown that few personal goals are likely to be set if only outcome feedback is available. These same studies show that when both outcome and process feedback are available, individuals are likely to set more goals for themselves. Good personal goals should pertain to both the desired outcome (e.g., greater customer service) and clarify the process (e.g., more effort, improved employee attitude). Research on judgment and decision making emphasizes that the quality of decisions depends on the information used to make the judgment. Accurate judgments are based on using relevant information. As such, it is essential to help individuals focus on relevant information. Additional studies have shown that decision-makers who focused primarily on outcome feedback were slower in developing an effective information searching strategy. References Frances, Antonio. (1997). “Bridging the Great Divide: Strategic and Operating Plans using the Balanced Scorecard”, Retrieved May 16 2006, from http://servicios.iesa.edu.ve/newsite/academia/pdf/AntonioFrances.pdf

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