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Performance Measurement Action Research

Paper outline:

1st Slide: Introduction
2nd Slide: Approach to Research

3rd Slide: Research Methodology .

4thSlide: Stage two: research question defines research problem
5th Slide: Problems identified:
6th Slide: Stage three: research problem finds research answer

7th Slide: QMF framework
8th Slide: Output Determination

9th Slide: Stage four: research answer helps solve practical problems
10th Slide: Measurements
11th Slide: Summary of the four stages of the research and Further stages

12th Slide: review of the action research

Performance Measurement Action Research
1st Slide: Introduction
An Action research project was conducted by Centre for Facilities Management (CFM).
During the research period, the CFM was in charge of the estate and facilities inside a central government department.
The direct involvement of the researchers in the organization allowed them to get the context of their research problem by being part of the organization culture. The involvement accorded the researcher a chance to balance between performing and back staging.
Performing concerns direct involvement in the performance of the organization that leads to change
Back staging involves intervening skill of the political and cultural systems by justifying, influencing them and negotiating (Coghan and Brannick, 2001).
The involvement makes the researcher a facilitator.
2nd Slide: Approach to Research
            –CFM used an action research.
-Each research was generated by the organization being researched (FM directorate).
In action research, the researcher collaborates with the client to solve the given problem and come up with new knowledge. Thus, the emphasis of this research is on change. The research is continuous passing through the planning phase of research and development.
The action research then proceeds to the action phase of intelligent inquiry, after which the researcher then investigates the patterns of change in the practical improvement then reflection and action stages.
In the action research approach, the employees of the organization being researched actively take part in the research. The researcher takes action on his research and the organization takes action to effect changes in the organization. In this case, of FM directorate, on the planning phase, the researchers seek to know the present action practised. They look at the performance measurement actions of all FM suppliers in the organization that they are researching (Moss, Alho, & Alexander, 2007).
The researchers then suggest changes to the current actions and these are carried outwithin the organization in an exploratory process. Along the execution of this process, the researchers and the organization learn together.
3rd Slide: Research Methodology
Stage one: practical problems motivate research questions
-Identification of research questions
-RQ1: how to develop an effective PMS that is best suitable for FM organizations
The client has out-sourced their FM activities and signed various contracts with suppliers. Suppliers have started using PMSs but there are huge inconsistencies present in the different PMSs used by different suppliers. Supplier management has become difficult and collaboration among suppliers creates confusion. As a result, there have been complains about the financial rewarding and penalising system. CFM role was to review and improve the system.
After comprehensive literature review the RQ1 arrived at was, how to develop an effective PMS that is best suitable for FM organizations
4th Slide:Stage two: research question defines research problem
-literature review and the background research.
-Data collection method:
-research questionnaire self-completed by all service providers.Face-to-face semi structured interviews with individual suppliers.
-Data collected: supplier details, Key Performance Indicators (KPI) scheme, PMS, service contract and benchmarking.
The researcher undertook several meetings with the client representative to seek opinion on the raised issues. There were workshops for suppliers to publicize the results of the questionnaires and the interviews. Seek suppliers opinion on the way forward of improving the system and KPI.
Researchers conducted further literature review on the effective PMS and KPIs
5th Slide: Problems identified:
-Current KPI and PMS are not related to the client’s strategic objectives,
-Each service line has a PMS
-KPI’s do not help in the improvement of services.
Explanation for the problems identified was that the key reason for measuring the supplier’s performance had been forgotten over the years with the development of the system. The ideals that performance measures are a means of improving the performance of the organization had been neglected. The measurements were supposed to provide evidence for FM’s contribution to the core business of the organization such as quality delivery, cost-effectiveness and user satisfaction.
Thus the researchers came up with the second research question, how could they design a PMS that solves the three problems identified?
6th Slide: Stage three: research problem finds research answer
            –KPIs need to be relevant to the business strategy
-The correct business system has to be a tailor made
-The Quality Managed Facility (QMF) framework is a viable guideline to the tailoring process.
Best system is a tailor made quality managed facility (QMF) framework.
QMS framework guides organization through a quality journey to excellence. The framework utilizes continuous improvement of the quality of service provided to consumers.
7th Slide: QMF framework
On the QMF framework, there are hard issues (performance, productivity and viability) and soft issues (flexibility, continuity, innovation, reputation, morale and identity) essential to any organization. On the right side of the framework, key outputs of FM are included: quality, value and risk. The key outputs of FM organizations are usable through the QMF model as KPIs.
KPIs need to be relevant to the business strategy thus as the business drivers determine their organizational strategy, the QMF framework becomes the QMF performance measurement framework.
Business drivers are universal in all organizations;however, the FM output is changeable as per the needs of the specific organization.
8th Slide: Output Determination
The researchers mapped the QMF framework in accordance with the FM directorate’s objectives then used the mapping results to determine six outputs to be used as the KPI. The client assisted in the identification of the six outputs for the available nine outputs. The researchers then added a headline KPI to be used across the other six. According to the client, there was need to justify future financial bonuses hence the addition of the headline KPI.
9th Slide: Stage four: research answer helps solve practical problems
In this stage, the researchers finalize and implement the new system as it has been aligned to the client’s strategy. The new system incorporates the recommendations of the previous study stages. The researchers developed supplier specific measurement criteria using the model shown. A gap analysis assisted in categorizing gaps in the present used measures and the new set of headline KPIs.
The identified gaps were then reviewed in relation to the industry wide KPIs and measures. The similarities and differences obtained formed part of the knowledge process.
The researchers identified the balanced measurements using Brown’s (1996) framework for allocating processes of performance in minute process levels.
The framework shows the highlights the prominence of balancing performance measures to cover entire aspects of inputs, process, outputs and outcomes.
Researcher and client met severally to discuss KPI development. Client’s team assembled and discussed measurements and created consensus of new measurements to be shared by all suppliers. 12 generic indicators and 21 measurements units were identified.
10th Slide: Measurements
Supplier specific measures vary with service line and this prompted the CFM researchers to adopt Neely’s (1998) performance record sheet, incorporating it into each supplier KPI card so that they could record the operational performance of each supplier (Table II). Both researcher and client to clarified the frequency, method and threshold of the measures to improve the level of service performance, which resulted in the increase of targets as compared to the old system targets, by undertaking a strenuous process. The team relied on historical service performance data to ensure that the thresholds and targets maintained a reasonable limit.
The researcher developed a four-levelled KPI scheme aligned to the client’s organizational FM structure to provide valuable information on the overall client role. Service provider performance is now measured by the supplier specific measures. Measurement occurs systematically as information is fed to the upper levels until it reaches the headline KPI.
11th Slide: Summary of the four stages of the research and Further stages
Further stages of the action research
-The new PMS uses KPIs derived from the business objectives. The next stage of the action research is the management of the new system.
-Management will happen through the traffic light monitoring system, rectifying “red light” situations and forcing suppliers to improve their services.
According to Amaratunga and Baldry (2002), (Amaratunga & Baldry, 2002) the specific objectives of the desired outcome of the measurement of performance form the basis of performance management. The KPIs used serve as a tool for the FM directorate to obtain information that is usable in a collaborative fashion to drive desired change in the service providers systems and processes to achieve their goals.
The new performancemanagement system fulfilled the need to have a transparent and standard system as outlined in the first stage of the action research. Sharing of KPIs made internal benchmarking easy and the standardization of the reward and penalty scheme solved the problem of biasness. Standardization of the KPI cards now ensures that the process is transparent and supports the performance management.
12th Slide: review of the action research
            –Uses qualitative methods of data collection
-Develops a solution to the research problem
-The researcher forms part of the solution implementers
Data collected in the action research included formal reports, minute of the meetings with the client and suppliers and the initial performance report.
Observations and interventions occurred during the formal settings, meetings and interviews organized in the course of the action research. In the fourth stage, the researcher worked directly with the organization and thus made observation in informal settings such as day-to-day interactions with staffs.
The new system intends to correct the problems of the old system however; some underlying issues could not be corrected because of the cultural issues in the client organization. The responsibility for the implementation of the new system lies with the client.
This research has used an interpretive phenomenological paradigm employing qualitative methods that are descriptive and inferential (Hitchcock & Hughes, 1995).
The researcher has tried to have a total view of each situation and action step by involving all the stakeholders and participating in the organization. Ideas for change have been developed through the induction from the data collected. The chronology of the research has been from the general assumptions to the specific measurements and objectives though consequent observation.

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