Recommended Reading

Recommended reading for performance management, strategy planning and balanced scorecard.

Recommended Books and Papers

There are very many books and papers available on performance management, strategy implementation and balanced scorecard; which ones should you read if time is limited?

Here we list our top ten recommendations. The suggestions cover both books and papers, and range from short and handy through to long and in-depth. Each represents the best in class among its peers - what is more, well-thumbed copies of all of these live on a shelf above the desk of Gavin Lawrie our founder (see the photo above...!).

In choosing, we focused on clarity and accessibility.

  • Entries nearer to the top of the list are our top picks (slightly skewed towards Balanced Scorecard) if you just want to get up to speed on these topics quickly.
  • Entries further down comprise recommendations for more advanced reading on wider strategy and performance management topics. (You may find some of these readings require concentration, but you won’t need a PhD!).

We hope you find our list helpful. We would really like to know what you think about our choices - so we hope you will get in touch with us via our contact page or social media (click on the buttons in the side-bar).

Balanced Scorecard (Express Exec)

Nils-Goran Olve, Anna Sjostrand

Capstone - 2006-02-24 - 118 pages

2GC Comments: Short and sweet, this short book contains all you really need to know about how to design 1st and 2nd Generation Strategic Balanced Scorecards. Effectively it is a summary of “Performance Drivers” - an earlier excellent book by Nils Göran Olve. It lacks information on more modern Balanced Scorecard designs, and on non-strategic uses of Balanced Scorecard, but nonetheless it remains in our view the best introductory book around by a good margin.


Visual Strategy: Strategy Mapping for Public and Nonprofit Organizations

John M. Bryson, Fran Ackermann, Colin Eden

John Wiley & Sons - 2014-09-12 - 240 pages

2GC Comments: A useful practical guide to how to approach the development of strategic plans using group-based consensus methods. Don’t worry about the ‘public sector and non-profit’ part of the title, this book is relevant to managers in all organisations. The methods and techniques it describes are powerful yet easy to grasp, and have much in common with methods for Balanced Scorecard design pioneered by 2GC. Although the book’s authors are all academics and the book includes discussion of some heavy-duty concepts, this short easy to read book remains both useful and accessible.


Why Balanced Scorecards Fail!

Arthur M. Schneiderman

Journal of Strategic Performance Measurement - 01 Jan 1999 - pages

2GC Comments: The ideas expressed in this article have influenced 2GC’s work for many years. Although the writing style makes it harder to read than it should be, we still think it is one of the most sensible, practical, and well argued pieces on the topic ever published. Also useful as an insight into the thinking of one of those involved at the very beginning of the Balanced Scorecard phenomenon.


The Promise and Perils of Balanced Scorecard

Gary Cokins

Wiley Periodicals Inc. / Gary Cokins via - 01 Mar 2010 - 9 pages

2GC Comments: Gary Cokins has been involved in the development of Balanced Scorecard since its earliest days. He was also closely involved in the development of Activity Based Costing and is a useful source of insight and information concerning the two topics. This article observes that it is not enough to design a Balanced Scorecard, it needs to be used too - an issue central to much of 2GC’s work. Gary’s focus here is on the role of software systems to help with this, but contains insights key for anyone thinking of introducing Balanced Scorecard for strategic management purposes.


Strategy Mapping For Behaviour Change With The Public Sector Scorecard

Max Moullin and Robert Copeland

British Academy of Management / Max Moullin - - 01 Sep 2012 - 5 pages

2GC Comments: Building strategic Balanced Scorecards for Non Profit and Public Sector organisations requires a slightly different approach; something we look at in detail in our own case studies and research papers areas. This prize winning short paper from Max Moullin provides has an interesting perspective on how to do this, and one that is wholly consistent with best practice methods. A useful paper that provides a concise and informative introduction to Max’s considerable work on Public Sector Scorecards since 2002.


Making Strategy Work: Leading Effective Execution and Change

Lawrence G. Hrebiniak

Pearson FT Press - 2013-06-13 - 424 pages

2GC Comments: This is an epic work from an academic who pioneered research into strategy execution long before it became ‘a thing’. An update of an earlier book (now out of print) which was a key influence on 2GC during the development of our approach to strategy implementation. The ideas contained in this book are ones that every manager concerned about strategy implementation should become familiar with.


Performance Measurement and Control Systems for Implementing Strategy Text and Cases: Pearson New International Edition

Robert Simons

Pearson - 2013-07-26 - 696 pages

2GC Comments: This book covers the topics listed in its title thoroughly and deeply, along the way presenting a highly practical approach for applying these ideas within an organisation. Nearly 700 pages - so not a casual read - but is essential reading for anyone working (or wanting to work) as a consultant or trainer in this field.Robert Simons, also published “Levers of Control”, an outstanding work on strategic control that directly influenced the development of “2nd Generation” Balanced Scorecard design methods in the late 1990s.


Integrated Performance Management: A guide to strategy implementation

Kurt Verweire and Lutgart van den Berghe

SAGE Publications Ltd - 18 Dec 2004 - 320 pages

2GC Comments: Our recommended text for readers looking to gather a more in-depth understanding of the topics and issues that influence performance management system design and implementation. This book brings together contributions from a number of authors who discuss the subject from a wide range of perspectives, including consideration of financial and control issues, as well as the links between performance management and both strategic planning and human resource management. NB this book does not set out to provide practical guidance for any of these topics, but nonetheless the book provides useful background reading for those who want to understand some of…


Making Sustainability Work: Best Practices in Managing and Measuring Corporate Social, Environmental and Economic Impacts

Marc J. Epstein, Adriana Rejc Buhovac

Routledge - 2014-01-31 - 324 pages

2GC Comments: An excellent introduction to the concept of sustainability within corporations. Clearly written, it sets out a practical approach for addressing the dimensions of sustainability both at the strategy formation and strategy implementation levels.2GC use the ideas in this book to guide its own work with clients to reflect sustainability concepts in our work.


Consulting for Real People: A Client-Centred Approach for Change Agents and Leaders

Peter Cockman, Bill Evans, Peter Reynolds

McGraw-Hill Education / Europe, Middle East & Africa - 1998-11-16 - 256 pages

2GC Comments: This book is not directly about performance management, but is nonetheless required reading for new 2GC consultants, and a strongly recommended text for everyone else working to introduce performance management methods within an organisation. The book focuses on the challenges of introducing organisational change ‘from within’ an organisation - in particular looking at how to do this when all you can do is act as a facilitator - a common situation for those working on the introduction of performance management systems. The methods and models the book introduces are exceptionally clear in description, and efficient and effective in use.