Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Oxfam, Scoreboard, and Vision

(re-submitting because my initial submission only went through Blackboard and not the blog site)


              I found the framework of the balanced scorecard, in the article by Kaplan and Norton, very intriguing and practically applicable and saw connections that could be made between this article, the Oxfam case, and “Building Your Company’s Vision.”
              The scorecard looks at the balance of four critical pillars of performance measurement: how shareholders think of the firm, how customers think of the firm, how the firm can continue to grow and create value, and where the firm should excel at. These would be the criteria against which an organization’s overall performance can be assessed. While Oxfam is not a manufacturer or a producer using “cycle time”, “defect rates,” or “unit price”, it surely does deliver services in reducing hunger and poverty worldwide and have multiple stakeholders: local organizations, private donors, corporate donors, public partner firms, board of directors, and staff. How can Oxfam overcome the crisis it’s faced with, WITHOUT sacrificing its core value and ideology, WHILE maintaining a proper balance of the scoreboard?
              In the model of the balanced scoreboard, Oxfam would track their history of financial transactions, successful delivery of projects, client satisfaction with grants, and internal organizational improvement. Oxfam could use quantitative analysis of those four benchmark measures and qualitative reporting to critically look at areas of success and (probably more commonly) failure at this point.
              Furthermore, the Innovation and Learning Perspective aligns with points emphasized in “Building Your Company’s Vision.” The statement that “truly great companies understand the difference between what should never change and what should be open for change, between what is genuinely sacred and what is not” resonates with the idea that a firm should continuously drive itself to introduce changes in production, system, and marketing and internal processes for “competitive success” and to keep up with changing trends and demands. These would certainly fall under “what should be open for change” as opposed to the core mission, values, and ideologies of an organization.

              I also reflected upon how this balanced scoreboard model could be modified and tailored to the capacities of NGO’s and NFO’s, a field that I am interested in going into. It would depend upon the nature and mission work of a particular NFO, but the revised model would certainly focus less on “shareholders” and more on “clients”, less on “sales” and more on “service delivery,” and less on “profits” and more on “contributions”.

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