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Performance measurement systems in SMEs : a review and a research agenda

Garengo, P. and Biazzo, S. and Bititci, U. (2005) Performance measurement systems in SMEs : a review and a research agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews, 7 (1). pp. 25-47. ISSN 1460-8545

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In recent years, literature has identified the increasing complexity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and highlighted their sensitivity to differences in managerial culture and management systems. Research has shown that performance measurement systems (PMSs) could play an important role in supporting managerial development in these companies. In this paper, the literature on performance measurement in manufacturing SMEs is reviewed and the diffusion, characteristics and determinants of performance measurement in SMEs are analysed. Shortcomings in the performance measurement systems are highlighted and the many factors that seem to constrain PMSs in manufacturing SMEs are defined, e.g. lack of financial and human resources, wrong perception of the benefits of PMS implementation, short-term strategic planning. Moreover, using dimensions defined according to the information found in the literature, two PMS models specifically developed for SMEs are compared with generic PMS models. The comparison points out an evolution in PMS models over time; in particular, the models developed in the last 20 years are more horizontal, process-oriented and focus on stakeholder needs. However, it is not clear whether these changes are due to the evolution of the generic models or an attempt to introduce models suited to the needs of SMEs. To clarify this matter and better to understand PMSs in SMEs, further theoretical and empirical studies are necessary. The main issues still requiring investigation are listed in a research agenda at the end of the paper.