An investigation of the readiness of implementing the learning and growth perspective of the Balanced Scorecard within the Saudi Arabian public sector performance management system

  • Mishari Alshalhoub

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This research investigated the readiness of the Saudi Arabian public sector to implement the learning and growth perspective (LGP) of the balanced scorecard (BSC), with the aim of developing a comprehensive and holistic understanding of the current performance management system in the Saudi Arabian public sector from a strategic human resource development (SHRD) point of view. Performance management (PM) has become a significant corporate issue in both public and private sectors within developed and developing countries. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has sought to introduce the balanced scorecard (BSC) as a performance management tool in the public sector. An important element of the BSC is the learning and growth perspective (LGP), which is considered the foundation of any strategy. The successful implementation of the BSC largely depends on the extent to which the users understand the concept of the LGP. However, despite the wide publicity surrounding the BSC, there is no scientifically established tool that can be used to measure the LGP, even though there is a wide recognition that the successful implementation of the BSC needs a valid and reliable measure of the LGP.
    Using a combination of interviews of executive/top management and structured questionnaire surveys of managers and employees in Saudi public sector ministries, and focusing on the LGP, this study established the level of readiness of Saudi Arabian public sector ministries for the implementation of the BSC. This was done by investigating the extent to which both the users (managers and employees) and top management understand and conceptualise the concepts of PM and the LGP.
    The main findings of the study are: (i) There is a limited/inadequate understanding of PM by executive management, managers and employees; (ii) There is evidence of misalignment between PM and the strategic objectives of the ministries; (iii) Managers and employees have the same conceptualisation of the LGP in some dimensions, but differ in others. (v) Five dimensions of the LGP were identified using factor analysis. Employees and managers shared the following dimensions – Human Capital, Information Capital, Employee Satisfaction, and Relationship. However, managers had an additional dimension – Motivation. This implies different understanding of the LGP in some aspects by managers and employees. In the dimensions that they share, on balance, managers had a much better understanding of the LGP than employees. That is, although conceptualisation of the LGP had high cumulative variance explained for both managers and for employees, the cumulative variance for managers was higher, indicating that managers had a better understanding. Further, a summated rating scale was developed as a measurement tool for the LGP and a comparative analysis of the dimensions using this new tool also confirmed that managers understood the notion better.
    The main implications of these findings are: (i) Inadequacy in the understanding of PM is likely to have a negative impact on the implementation of the BSC; (ii) Identifying the dimensions of the LGP enable academic researchers and practitioners to confidently apply the concept of the LGP; (iii) Top management
    can use the LGP measurement tool developed in this study to determine the level
    of understanding of aspects of the LGP by employees and managers; (iv) The
    differences in the ways managers and employees conceptualise the LGP means
    that not all employees are ready for the implantation of the BSC. This means that
    a competency gap has to be measured and employees trained if necessary; (v) On
    balance, the BSC needs to be adapted to the Saudi public sector context.
    Date of AwardMar 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Portsmouth
    SupervisorEmma Brown (Supervisor) & Stephen Williams (Supervisor)

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