The Birth of the Balanced Scorecard

The development of the balanced scorecard can be attributed to the work of Dr. Robert Kaplan and Dr. David Norton from Harvard Business School in the early 1990s. They began publishing articles and then later, came up with the book entitled The Balanced Scorecard in the year 1996. Since then, it has become well known that it is now being adopted by a lot of companies and industries worldwide. The balanced scorecard concept was even awarded by the American Accounting Association as The Best Theoretical Contribution in 1997.

Though the term balanced scorecard was coined in the 1990s, there are still other works that has been published in the past with almost the same kind of approach such as the revolutionary project of General Electric on developing a performance management reporting tool in 1950s. Another term came out in the early part of the 20th century by some French process engineers, which sprouted out of creating Tableau de Bord that means dashboard of performance measures.

There were a lot of attempts to further research and study the concept behind the balanced scorecard. Some practitioners have even diverted from the original draft of Kaplan and Norton through the many articles that they have written in the past. Other scorecards were also introduced as alternatives such as Results Based Management, The Performance Prism and Third Generation Balanced Scorecard. These tools promised to solve some design issues of the original balanced scorecard that can be used by organizations in setting up targets for performance measurement. But then again, the balanced scorecard has remained the most common in terms of application and usage by a lot of companies for the past ten years or so.

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