Friedrich Kalden - Performance Measurement in Shared Services - Empirical Evidence from European Multinational Companies


In recent years, Shared Service Organizations (SSOs) are of growing relevance in research and corporate practice, although managers and existing literature voice concerns about potential negative impacts of SSOs for multinational corporations. A major reason for the ongoing controversy about the effectiveness of SSOs is closely related to the shortcoming of measuring their performance.

Despite the relevance of performance measurement as a basis for a profound decision- making, performance measurement system (PMS) design in SSOs marks a blind spot in prior research. Moreover, evidence on determinants of PMS design in SSOs and its effectiveness remains scarce. Therefore, Friedrich Kalden investigates the design, the determinants and the effectiveness of PMS in SSOs. The empirical analysis rests on field surveys with SSO managers and management accountants of 74 multinational corporations from Germany, Switzerland and Austria with an established SSO. Besides surveying experts, Friedrich Kalden held interviews with SSO managers, management accountants and process owners to unveil different viewpoints on PMS design in SSOs. Combining different research methods allows for the triangulation of empirical findings which promises a more complete picture of PMS in SSOs. To grasp a basic understanding, the study explores PMS designs in SSOs by using three design components, namely measures, processes and actors. The results show, for example, that performance measures related to process quality prevail in SSOs and that PMS modifications are a rather neglected part in the performance measurement process. In a second step, Friedrich Kalden investigates which contingency factors are associated with PMS design in SSOs. This offers insights which determinants affect PMS design in SSOs and indicates how performance measurement actors foster PMS design by acting as promotors. Third, Friedrich Kalden’s study analyzes whether PMS design relates to its effectiveness in order to derive practical recommendations. For example, the study explains to what extent PMS designs in SSOs provide support for SSO managers to achieve their objectives and reveals why more KPIs are not always more effective.

The study is the first to analyze PMS design in SSOs and its effectiveness by drawing on a PMS design score. Consequently, Friedrich Kalden increases the comparability of different PMS designs in SSOs and provides evidence on associations between PMS design and its effectiveness. The study broadens prior research by uncovering so far unexplored contingency factors in the case study analyses and by empirically testing them based on a sound theoretical foundation. The case study analyses exploit insights from the expert interviews which may be beneficial to this study’s practical relevance. Therefore, the empirical analyses yield implications for managers and management accountants that use and design PMS in SSOs as well as for other practitioners working in a shared service environment. Given the importance of PMS in SSOs in practice and the contribution of the results to the existing body of literature, I hope that Friedrich Kalden’s work will receive much attention from academics and practitioners.