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Creating High Performance Organisations: The Determining Factors


  • 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 and it has spurred many companies to engage in self-analysis and organisational improvement activities. As a result, interest in the determinant factors of sustainable high performance is increasing. Managers all over the world are trying out new performance improvement concepts, though unfortunately with varying success. One likely reason for this is the current lack of consensus on the organisational characteristics that lead to high performance. The aim of the research study described in this article was to identify the characteristics that lead to sustainable high performance. The initial phase of the study - a descriptive review of 290 research studies into high performance – resulted in the identification of 189 potential characteristics which could make up a high performance organisation. In the following phase, these were tested in a worldwide survey and narrowed down to 35 characteristics, categorised in five factors, which showed a positive correlation with competitive performance. The factors were applied in a case study at a division of a prominent Dutch bank. The application led to specific characteristics that explained the difference in performance between the high and the low performing regions of the examined bank division. The study results show that identifying the determining factors of sustainable high performance is feasible and that these factors can be used at organisations to determine the differences between high and low performing units. This research theferore offers managers a framework that provides focus to organisational improvement projects.

Suggested Citation

  • André de Waal, 2011. "Creating High Performance Organisations: The Determining Factors," Working Papers 2011/10, Maastricht School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:msm:wpaper:2011/10

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. André de Waal, 2011. "Characteristics of High Performance Organizations," Working Papers 2011/04, Maastricht School of Management.
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    More about this item


    high performance organisations; organisational characteristics; banking;

    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

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