Measure less, succeed more: A Zen approach to organisational balance and effectiveness

Barnett, Michael L. and Cahill, Gloria (2007) Measure less, succeed more: A Zen approach to organisational balance and effectiveness. Philosophy of Management, 6 (1). pp. 147-162.

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Over the last decade, managers have placed increasing emphasis on the creation of tangible measures of intangible organizational properties. Many major corporations now include measures for intellectual capital, knowledge capital, reputational capital, and other such intangible assets on their financial ledgers. Counter to the rubric that "If it doesn't get measured, it doesn't get done", we argue that some intangibles are truly intangible, and attempts to force fit such measures on them creates undue organizational stress and harms the underlying asset. Instead, managers may better foster the growth of intangible assets by placing less emphasis on outcome measurement and more emphasis on the process. Using New York University's Office of Community Service as a case study, we illustrate how a Zen approach can augment tangible measures to create a truly "balanced" organizational strategy. American firms have widely adopted the strict measurement practices of Japanese firms, but have largely not adopted the Eastern practice of Zen. A Zen approach fosters trust and provides flexibility that allows organizations to better achieve success in the long run.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Measurement; Balance; Intangibles; Effectiveness; Zen
Subject(s): Strategy; Entrepreneurship & Global business
Centre: Faculty of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and International Business
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2012 17:49
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 14:07

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