The appraisal of workplace performance measurement tools

Huovala, R 2004, The appraisal of workplace performance measurement tools , MPhil thesis, University of Salford.

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The competitive market has pressured companies to produce more, to a better quality, in less time with fewer resources, hence the drive to increase business productivity and cut costs. In the field of facilities management this has meant that the need to demonstrate the contribution made to improve productivity has intensified. One fundamental attempt to illustrate this contribution has been directed toward high performance workplaces. This thesis is concerned with workplace performance measurement tools and methods, and identifying flawed understanding within them to distinguish how they could be further developed. The research questions were narrowed down through a content analysis of the problem defining process of a FM practitioner-led research forum and through an initial literature review. As a result, it was identified that the over-emphasis on cost reduction within FM practice limits potential workplace improvements due to insufficient evidence needed to demonstrate the value these would add to the business. The practitioners have suggested that one reason for this is a lack of workplace performance measurement knowledge. They proposed that tools that focus on effectiveness rather than efficiency should be developed to create a link between Facilities Management input and output to demonstrate the contribution of FM to the core business (workplace productivity). These, mainly practice-initiated, problems have been used as a basis for this research as representing a timely, real world, enquiry. The importance of applying a practical point of view to this research is explained through discussing the philosophies of real world research and describing the connection between 'management research' and the principles of 'action research'; and through highlighting the importance of a 'practice-led and theory-sensitive' approach to enable usefulness for both theory and practice. The aim was to reflect on and critically appraise the current tools and methods documented in literature and used in practice. Eight tools have been identified and examined. The setting of logical and comprehensive criteria for the critical appraisal became a fundamental challenge -better understanding of different approaches to workplace performance measurement was needed. This was achieved through a parallel review of the Centre for Facilities Management's case study database and through a literature review. Further interviews were also carried out with the FM practitioners of the research forum, but also with other case study organisations (to gain a broader view) to confirm the findings and to better understand their practice of workplace performance measurement. As a result, exploratory criteria were developed and further examined. The creation of a research problem was possible through a gap analysis of the identified methods and tools, and the proposed criteria. It was recognised that these tools and methods place little emphasis on supporting the continuous change within organisations and that an understanding of people activities, such as communication and team interaction, was underdeveloped. The focus was mainly on defining the performance of a physical workplace, rather than the effects this has on the people activities. It is argued that these tools often aim to provide feedback for the construction industry to improve the future design, rather than for the purpose of the organisation to improve the suitability of their workplace for their business functions.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2021 13:53
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:54

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