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Dysfunctional performance measurement

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MDC individual report Dysfunctional performance measurement



The aim of the individual assignment is for you to research a common dysfunctional issue that arises when measuring performance in organisations. You will be required to submit a research report that describes your chosen issue, presents a real-world example of its occurrence, and suggests how it could be fixed. Your research report should also be accompanied by some documentary evidence of the real-world example that you describe.


This task relates to the following subject objectives:

  • Critically analyse the institutional, organisational and individual influences on management accounting systems
  • Form professional judgments about the appropriateness of the design and operation of management accounting systems
  • Apply theory to design management accounting systems in real-world organisational contexts

Individual report components

Final Report

There are many different problems that can occur when measuring performance in organisations. These include:

  • Short-termism (myopia)
  • Lack of controllability

Prepare a report which addresses the following sections and components:

  1. Dysfunctional performance measurement in theory
    1. Define and describe your chosen problem .Your description should provide sufficient depth on the topic and be clearly explained so that it is easy for the reader to understand your main points. This section should contain references to relevant academic journal articles on the topic.
    2. Explain why the problem occurs. Your explanation should include all of the relevant factors that can contribute to the occurrence of the problem, as well as a clear explanation of how those factors cause the problem to occur. You should draw on your references and management accounting theory to support your explanation.
    3. Explain the consequences of the problem for organisations and individuals. Your explanation should include all of the relevant dysfunctional consequences or outcomes of the problem, both for the organization as a whole as well as for individual employees. Again, you should draw on your references and management accounting theory to support your explanation.

It is expected that you will conduct your own independent research, reading a wide variety of sources from both academic and practitioner literature to expand your knowledge about the problem. A useful starting point is the suggested weekly reading material; however you are expected to conduct your own research and draw upon other sources.

When preparing your report, think carefully about what academic sources you actually would like to refer to in your report. It is expected that you will demonstrate a deep engagement with a selective group of sources rather than providing superficial reference to a larger group of sources. In your reference list refer only to sources that you engage with in-text in your report.

You are expected to show sufficient depth of understanding of the topic and to clearly express your ideas in a way that makes it easy for the reader to follow the main point of your argument. The main points you make should be explicitly stated in the body of your report – you should not assume that the reader can read your mind! However, you may assume that your reader has a basic understanding of the topic.

Report formatting requirements

Formatting of text:

  • Font: Times New Roman, 12pt
  • Line spacing: At least 1.15 line spacing (no single line spacing)
  • Margins: At least 2cm for top, bottom, left and right margins
  • Table of content
  • Sub-heading
  • Executive summary

Page limit

The report is to be no more than 5 pages in length. This page limit includes all sections of your report except for:

  • A cover sheet
  • The reference list (bibliography)
  • Attached evidence of real-world example


All sources must be properly acknowledged using the Harvard referencing style. Any source that is referenced ‘in-text’ must be listed in the reference list at the end of the report. Any report that contravenes the referencing policy will not be eligible for a grade (and may draw severe penalties or be referred to the Faculty Student Conduct Committee).

Documentary evidence of real-world example:

Your report must be accompanied by some evidence of your real-world example. This can be evidence from some secondary source (e.g. news media article, blog entry, report) or evidence that you have collected yourself (e.g. a case description that you have written up with verifiable facts, transcript of an interview with relevant organisation member). Please attach this as an appendix, after your reference list.

Useful resources

Dysfunctional Consequences of Performance Measurements

  1. F. Ridgway

Administrative Science Quarterly

Vol. 1, No. 2 (Sep., 1956), pp. 240-247

The Performance Measurement Manifesto by Robert G. Eccles

Harvard Business Review, January–February 1991, Vol. 69, No. 1, pp. 131-137.
Andy Neely
Mike GregoryKen Platts, (1995) “Performance measurement system design: A literature review and research agenda”, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 15 Iss: 4, pp.80 – 116

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