The balanced scorecard concept was originated in the early 1990’s by Robert Kaplan and David Norton of Harvard University, although the roots of the balanced scorecard methodology lie deep within well established management literature about performance measurement, including the work of the French process engineers who created the Tableau de Bord (literally, an instrument panel or dashboard of performance measures) in the early part of the 20th century in France, and the pioneering work of General Electric on performance measurement reporting in the 1950’s.
Evolving in the 1990s
Since their first article setting out the basic concept of the balanced scorecard in the Harvard Business Review in 1992, Kaplan and Norton have published 7 books and a number of seminal articles about the steadily evolving applications and development of the concept into a major management methodology that has been embraced by all types of organisations worldwide. The success of the methodology has spawned a vast academic and practitioner literature.
The balanced scorecard methodology has evolved a long way from its early use as a simple performance measurement framework for an organisation’s non-financial areas of activity. The “new” balanced scorecard is a full strategic planning and management system that transforms an organisation’s strategic plan from an attractive but passive document into the "marching orders" for the organisation on a daily basis. It provides a framework that not only provides performance measurements, but helps planners identify what should be done and measured. It enables executives to truly execute their strategies.