Discovering effective performance measurement for e-business

Hinton, Matthew and Barnes, David (2009). Discovering effective performance measurement for e-business. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 58(4) pp. 329–345.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/17410400910951008

Abstract

Purpose – The objective of this paper is to identify the features of an effective e-business performance measurement system, as well as the practices in organisations with distinctive e-business performance metrics. From this it was hoped to identify a set of best practice recommendations. Design/methodology/approach – A case study methodology is used to examine the performance
measurement practices of 12 potentially exemplar organisations that have made efforts to develop distinctive performance metrics for e-business. Qualitative data are collected from interviews with key informants from each organisation, with supporting data generate from company documents. Findings – The study has uncovered a variety of approaches to e-business performance measurement, with no common framework apparent. Whilst the case organisations show significant differences in the level of success achieved in developing suitable measures, there is
evidence of a common concern to link e-business performance to organisational objectives. However, there is a general unwillingness to embark on major overhauls of existing performance measurement systems. Research limitations/implications – The acknowledged weakness of case study research is that it can only investigate a limited number of situations. This raises the issue of the generalisability of the findings to a wider population. However, in the absence of empirical work in this area, the case organisations provided examples of superior practice in e-business performance measurement when compared to organisations more generally. Practical implications – This study identifies several gaps between the academic literature and current management practice, suggesting that researchers should consider the impact of theory on the
process of organisational performance management. It also offers advice for organisations with respect to absorbing e-business measures into their current performance measurement systems. Originality/value – This paper offers empirical understanding of the application of performance
metrics to e-business and identifies several inconsistencies between academic theory and real-world
practice.

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