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The Balance Scorecard Initiative Essay

Executive Summary

This report provides the analysis of case study given to me. Gail Palmer Ashton Graduate School of Business ranks among the top schools of USA but the dean of the institute feels that the school has deviated from its foundations. This analysis proposes implementation of the balanced scorecard and performance metrics in order to achieve the four strategic goals of the institution. Even the ranking is consistent and high the institute needs performance standards devised along the lines of end goals. A balanced scorecard has four perspectives and this report gives the complete exploration of financial, internal, customer and learning and growth perspective. Furthermore, the report gives the indicators for the metrics, which would make feedback process effective and efficient. This feedback must be used to revise and improve the operational activities


Identifying stakeholders is the first step of analysis of a case study. Gail Palmer Ashton Graduate School of Business has various stakeholders, which can be divided into two categories. Internal stakeholders include administration, employees, current students and business partners while external stakeholders consist of potential students, potential employees, alumni and recruiters. Planning a balanced scorecard, performance metrics and implementing them would have an impact on all these stakeholders.

Identification of Problem

According to the case study, the rankings of Gail Palmer Ashton School are consistent and it ranks among the top 20 Business Schools of USA. Even though the rankings remain consistent, the Dean of School, Jack Watkins feels like they have deviated from their initial line of course. The Dean feels like the principles on which the School was founded are not being followed rigorously. It has been stated in the case study that Ashton Graduate School of Business is doing the same things as its competition. But in that race of rankings, the role of teachers in real business has suffered along with classroom discussion standard.

The problem is deviation from the basic strategic goals of the school, which previously was the sole reason of the success of this school. The rankings of universities around the globe mainly depend on the research work and Ashton has managed to improve the number of academic articles but at the same time principles of founders of this school have suffered. If no attention is paid to this problem, the school might lose the essence of what it used to stand for.

Decision Criteria

The decisions, which are to be made, should be according to the four strategic goals of the school in order to restore its previous image and position. The four strategic goals mentioned in the case are following: To have the world’s best teaching faculty known for case-method and experiential learning To have the world’s best graduate business education programs (MBA and short-course executive education programs) for developing results-oriented leaders with a general management perspective To have an alumni network unmatched for its effectiveness and integration in the life of the school To gamer international recognition for shaping management practice and business education through managerially relevant research and curriculum materials The committee formed by Dean Watkins needs to come up with strategies keeping in mind the above-mentioned goals.

Forming and implementing a balanced scorecard can achieve these goals. The difficulty of performance measures in a case of educational institution is rightly described by H.R. Kells (1990) “The notion to reduce complexity is acceptable if such reduction does not remove or reduce our ability to judge true worth. The list of performance indicators presented in study after study make little or no reference to the intentions (goals) of the organization to be described and virtually no reference to programme quality with respect to the specific results of instruction and research.”

Educational institutes face difficulties in how to present themselves to their numerous stakeholders that the end result would be high quality students, financial resources and the best faculty. So in that case performance measures should be selected to end goals of a particular institute.

Proposing a balanced scorecard

Balanced scorecard is a set of measures, which give the complete view of any business performance. Kaplan and Norton (1995) explained balanced scorecard in following words: “The balanced scorecard should translate a business unit’s mission and strategy into tangible objectives and measures. The measures represent a balance between external measures for shareholders and customers and internal measures of critical business processes, innovation and learning and growth. The measures are balance between outcome measures, the results of past efforts, and the measures that drive future performance. And the scorecard is balanced between objective, easily quantified outcome measures and subjective, somewhat judgmental, performance…”

Following are the strategic performance measures of any balanced scorecard: Financial performance: it deals with how the current and potential stakeholders see a particular business. Customer performance: This measure tells the company about the view of customers regarding the company/institute Business and production process performance: This measure proposes set of businesses at which a company must excel Learning and growth performance: This measure deals with the ability of a company to improve, change and adapt according to the external environment.

Creating a Balanced Scorecard

The dean Watkins asked a senior faculty member, Joe Riley to lead the project in order to apply fresh thinking to the creation of a set of performance metrics. Joe formed a small task force consisting of members having local and international experience and strong research and teaching perspective. The objective of this task force is to come up with performance metrics according to the four basic strategic goals of Ashton Graduate School. Thus, a balanced scorecard must be made along the following principles:

Financial perspective:

Design and implement sustainable financial models which will generate revenue
in the long run Establish extra funding for innovation and research

Maintain the current number of students while looking for potential students Maintain good relations with external stakeholders like Government administration Cut costs by improving internal efficiency and eliminating redundancy Maintain a viable financial model/structure for current and potential services and communicate it to all the stakeholders

Customer perspective:

Building image of the institute according to the foundations of the institute and communicating them to customers (Potential students and faculty) Improve the satisfaction of the employees by motivating them Engage more faculty in research and experiential learning

Improve the customer satisfaction with flexibility at various steps Establish strong communication with alumni network

Understand the changing external environment and the needs of customers Participation and promotion of inter university business management programs and policy development initiatives Use of innovate and emerging technologies to keep up with the competition

Efficient feedback system

Internal process perspective:

Improving effectiveness and efficiency of operational activities Improving hiring process by paying special attention to recruiting, retaining and succession planning

Focusing on training and development of faculty

Identifying and communicating roles of each and every department of administration to eliminate confusion and redundancy Streamline and standardize activities to ensure effectiveness

Learning and growth perspective:

Improve the connection and relation of students and the recruiters Planning regular job fairs to establish promising connections Training programs for personnel, administration, faculty and managers Work on technical skills of staff and students by keeping up to date with external environments demands

Enhancing communication and presenting skills

Implementing balanced scorecard

Implementing these performance measures is a tough task. For instance, adding additional students may affect resources of the institute of if additional faculty resources are required, the area to be benefitted (teaching or research) has to be decided. Exhibit 1.1 on the final page provides an example of the balanced scorecard ad associated objectives. For instance if the objective of the institute is to increase the diversity of university, the indicator can be percentage of staff, student and faculty by ethnicity or gender. As mentioned above, the performance metrics are to be designed according to the end goals of Ashton Graduate School. In order to have the best faculty, learning and growth perspective should be kept in mind.

Training and development of faculty is of prime importance along with the benefits and compensation in order to motivate the faculty for better results. Indicators for the faculty performance can be turnover rate, morale and satisfaction. The Ashton school is famous for its experiential learning. Thus, faculty should be encouraged to take part in businesses which has been reduced over the couple of years. This involvement of faculty in external businesses will benefit the learning process of students and eventually generate experienced students into the outside world. The indicator of these goals would be feedback of recruiters. Others indicators for the students’ performance are learning outcomes, satisfaction, retention, degree completion time, involvement and preparedness.

In order to enhance the alumni network, regular alumni events and job fairs should be planned. The feedback of recruiters and the pool of potential employees who want to join the school can indicate the nature relationship with the alumni of school. In order to gain international rankings, focus should be on research work and implementing new and innovative technology and skills. Right mixture of experiential learning and research articles will generate high rankings for the school. The feedback of this implementation is of crucial importance so that revisions and improvements can be made in the performance standards.

Braskamp, L.A, Ory, J.C. (1994). Assessing faculty work. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Chang, O.H. & Chow, C.W. (1999). The balanced scorecard: a
potential tool for supporting change and continuous improvement in accounting education, Issues in Accounting Education, Vol. 14. No 3 Kaplan, R.S. (1990). The half-life metric, Harvard Business School. Kells, H.R. (1990). The Inadequacy of Performance Indicators for Higher Education. Higher Education Management 2(3): 258–70

Rubden, B.D. (2000). Excellence in higher education 2000- A Baldrige based guide to organizational assessment, planning and improvement, Washington DC: National Association of college and university Business Officers

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