TUTCRIS - Tampereen teknillinen yliopisto


Measurement of Intangible Success Factors: Case Studies on the Design, Implementation and Use of Measures



KustantajaTampere University of Technology
ISBN (elektroninen)952-15-1387-X
ISBN (painettu) 952-15-1183-4
TilaJulkaistu - 21 kesäkuuta 2004
OKM-julkaisutyyppiG4 Monografiaväitöskirja


NimiTampere University of Technology. Publication
KustantajaTampere University of Technology
ISSN (painettu)1459-2045


Intangible assets consist of the non-physical sources of value related to employees capabilities, organizations resources and way of operating and the relationships with their stakeholders. This thesis examines performance measurement as a tool for managing intangible assets. The concept intangible success factors refers to managerially relevant intangible assets and also to the activities related to improving or utilising the assets. Both types of intangible success factors have been considered important from the point of view of managing intangible assets. Managers consider it important to measure intangible success factors. However, they are experiencing difficulties in applying the measures in practice. The objectives of this research are to determine how intangible success factors can be measured and what the main challenges are in measuring them. These questions were examined regarding three main phases of measurement. The first phase is the design phase, which consists of deciding what to measure and defining the measures. After the measures have been designed, they can be implemented. The implementation phase consists of putting the measures into practice by, e.g., developing information systems. The third phase is using the measures, which consists of, e.g., reviewing measurement results and making actions based on the results. The research approach used was qualitative multiple case research. The measurement of intangible success factors was examined in three organizations, in which measures were first designed, then implemented and finally used. Three research methods were used in order to be able to study the different phases. Action research was used for the design phase, interviews for the implementation phase and interviews and a focus group for the use phase. The theoretical framework of the thesis is based on the traditional performance measurement literature and the more contemporary intangible assets literature. Both of these fields have produced various measurement frameworks that can be used for measuring intangible success factors. This research examined the measurement of intangible success factors from the perspective of the process of measurement, i.e. how the different phases were carried out. The results suggest that the measurement of intangible success factors is in many ways similar to measuring any other success factors. However, some specific characteristics can also be identified. Many of the measures of intangible success factors are subjective, although objective measures are also used. The measures are often based on some relatively new management tools, e.g. a competency matrix, which provide the information needed. The main challenges in measurement are also related to these specific characteristics. The challenges include, e.g., finding the skill and time required to design subjective measures, the resources consumed by the development of data collection methods and the lack of sophistication of subjective measures that would allow focusing on improvement. The main contribution of the research is the detailed description of how intangible success factors can be measured and the identification of the specific challenges in the different phases of measurement.


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