Managing Performance Improvement: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Managing Performance Improvement

1st Edition

By Lynne F. Baxter, Alasdair M. MacLeod


198 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2007-11-16
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From TQM to Six Sigma and the Balanced Scorecard, there appears to be no end to the 'revolutionary' approaches proposed to improve business performance. However, on closer inspection, most new performance improvement approaches offer few differences from their predecessors.

This thought-provoking book provides a critical perspective on the management of performance improvement initiatives by relating major theories to practical examples from a wide range of organizations. Baxter and MacLeod analyze ideas on performance improvement and discuss how these concepts might not make any impact on organizations, using cases as diverse as telecommunications, cement manufacturing, a major airport, and an economic development organization. In their critique of popular performance improvement 'innovations', the authors highlight the possible damage to organizations they can cause. In response to prevailing performance improvement practices, the authors put forth the concept of repair as a way to rescue these efforts. Working from the authors’ extensive research, they present alternative perspectives on improvement that shifts forward the stagnant debates on these processes.

Offering a needed alternative perspective and real insights into the process of implementing performance improvements, this book will prove invaluable to advanced students and MBAs studying quality, performance improvement, operations management, and HRM.


'In a world obsessed with performance and performance improvement, the authors bring a highly critical perspective to the topic. Every senior manager should read this book before embarking on any of the usual performance improvement initiatives so often recommended in standard texts or by consultants. No stone remains unturned in this book - TQM, Six Sigma, the Balanced Scorecard, BPR, Lean, and so on are all given the same treatment. This book is excellent and should be recommended reading on every MBA programme.' - Mike Simpson, University of Sheffield, Management School, UK

'Baxter and MacLeod's book goes well beyond most of the established texts on performance management by giving special consideration to the important aspects of strategy and improvement. It has a refreshing style that blends the historical, theoretical, and practical contexts while also drawing on useful case examples.' - David Bennett, Aston Business School, UK

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Section 1: The Management Role in Performance Improvement 2. Leadership 3. The Relationship between Strategy and Performance Improvement 4. Performance Measurement Section 2: Improvement as Damage 5. Superficiality 6. Considering the Gender Aspect to Involvement 7. Continuous or ‘Big Bang’ Improvement: Using the Analogy of the Body Section 3: Repair 8. Repair at an Individual Level 9. Repair at the Level of the Organization: The Contribution of External Frameworks 10. Conclusions

About the Authors

Lynne F. Baxter is Senior Lecturer in Management Information Systems at The York Management School.

Alasdair MacLeod is an Honorary Research Fellow at Heriot-Watt University.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Production & Operations Management