Measurement for Management Decision: A Perspective

by Richard Mason, E. Swanson



Measurement for management decision focuses on the manager as a user of measures and must therefore take into account the manager's disposition to act in certain ways. This explicit incorporation of the manager's disposition and intention distinguishes measurement for management decision from traditional scientific measurement, although the techniques of scientific measurement are a necessary and integral part of managerial measurement. By relating the pragmatic theory of signs to communication in organizations, three specific kinds of managerial dispositions have been identified, attention directing, problem solving and scorecard keeping. One has seen that the appraisive function of scorecard measures is particularly central to measurement for management decision. One views organizations which management attempts to guide as purposeful systems. Purposeful systems have goals and objectives and thus, require measures of performance which answer the question of how well the organization is doing in achieving its goals and objectives. These goals and objectives serve interests of a client, for it is the client's value system which underlies the purposes of the organization. From systems theory we also know that purposeful systems are comprised of purposeful subsystems which also require measures of performance.

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