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The implementation of the balanced scorecard in a school district: Lessons learned from an action research study


  • Maria Manuela Pereira
  • Nuno Filipe Melão


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate the benefits, obstacles and challenges in implementing the balanced scorecard (BSC) in non-higher education public schools, more specifically, in a Portuguese school district. Design/methodology/approach - An action research approach was used to develop a BSC, help to implement changes and reflect about the outcomes. Findings - The paper presents the BSC for the school district and discusses five benefits, two obstacles and three challenges that emerged from the study. While some findings are in line with those found in other levels of education, others seem to be context-specific. Research limitations/implications - The results refer to a single intervention in Portugal and the methodology used precludes any generalization attempts. Practical implications - The findings are particularly relevant to the Portuguese context, providing evidence that the BSC can overcome some weaknesses of schools in the area of strategic management, as identified by the literature. They also raise implications for the wider field of the BSC's use in non-higher education public schools, suggesting reasons why things may go wrong. The results may be of value to practitioners wishing to make the implementation of the BSC more effective. Originality/value - This paper contributes to the scarce body of literature on the application of the BSC to non-profit organizations by providing an understanding of its possible benefits, obstacles and challenges in non-higher education public schools. It shows how the BSC methodology can be adapted to fit the specific requirements of a school district. This is one of the first papers to discuss an application of the BSC to non-higher education public schools.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Manuela Pereira & Nuno Filipe Melão, 2012. "The implementation of the balanced scorecard in a school district: Lessons learned from an action research study," International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 61(8), pages 919-939, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijppmp:v:61:y:2012:i:8:p:919-939

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