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Characteristics of High Performance Organizations


  • André de Waal

    (Associate Professor Strategic Management at the Maastricht School of Management, Academic Director of the Center for Organizational Performance, and guest lecturer at the Free University Amsterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam.)


The recent economic downturn has caused tremendous upheaval in the business world. It has spurred many companies to self‐analysis and further organisational improvement. As a result, there is an increasing interest into the factors that determine sustainable organisational success. Managers all over the world are trying out various improvement concepts, seeing mixed results. One likely reason for this is the lack of consensus on the organisational characteristics that lead to high performance. Another reason may be that research into high performance is predominantly conducted in US companies, making it seem less relevant to management practice outside the North American continent. The research study described in this article aimed at identifying the factors which have a positive relation with organisational performance, through a literature review of 290 research studies into high performance and subsequent testing in 1470 organisations worldwide. The research yielded 35 characteristics – grouped into five factors – that have a significant correlation with high performance and seem to be generic for all types of organisations, industries and countries.

Suggested Citation

  • André de Waal, 2011. "Characteristics of High Performance Organizations," Working Papers 2011/04, Maastricht School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:msm:wpaper:2011/04

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. André de Waal, 2011. "Strategy Only Matters A Bit: The role of Strategy in the High Performance Organization," Working Papers 2011/02, Maastricht School of Management.
    2. repec:spr:jknowl:v:8:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s13132-017-0471-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Michiel Frederick Coetzer & Mark Bussin & Madelyn Geldenhuys, 2017. "The Functions of a Servant Leader," Administrative Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(1), pages 1-32, February.
    4. Manoj Dubey, 2014. "Evolving Business Excellence Framework for Organization agility," Working Papers 1426, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade.
    5. Robert Goedegebuure & Kennedy Ssejjemba & André de Waal, 2013. "Key determinants of effective partnerships: The case of partnerships between lead firms and farmers in pineapple value chains in Uganda and Kenya," Working Papers 2013/27, Maastricht School of Management.
    6. André de Waal & Kettie Chipeta, 2013. "Effects of culture on the perception of South African and Tanzanian business students on high performance organizations," Working Papers 2013/03, Maastricht School of Management.
    7. Elias Carayannis & Evangelos Grigoroudis & Stavros Sindakis & Christian Walter, 2014. "Business Model Innovation as Antecedent of Sustainable Enterprise Excellence and Resilience," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 5(3), pages 440-463, September.
    8. André de Waal, 2011. "Creating High Performance Organisations: The Determining Factors," Working Papers 2011/10, Maastricht School of Management.

    More about this item


    high performance organizations; HPO; excellence; sustainability; performance; quality;

    JEL classification:

    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory

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