Design framework for performance management systems : an ensemble approach

Heikki Lempinen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Businesses and public sector organizations rely increasingly on fact-based management and decision making. Performance management systems enable these activities by helping organizations to derive “business intelligence” from a rapidly expanding amount of digital data. Moreover, performance management systems are designed to provide users with essential performance information through effective visualizations. To this end, the developers of performance management systems are faced with implementing increasingly complex technological solutions in organizational contexts that are governed by various information needs and often-conflicting interests of multiple stakeholders. The thesis focuses on these important questions to which the existing body of scientific knowledge on information systems design has not yet provided comprehensive explanations. To address the knowledge gap, the present thesis establishes a research framework to study the key design challenges and essential managerial issues in the development of performance management systems. To populate the framework, empirical evidence is drawn from multiple system development projects through qualitative inquiry. Participative action-based research and qualitative case study research are adopted as the main research methods to gain in-depth knowledge of the associated organizational phenomena. Overall, the thesis proposes that an “ensemble” approach is needed to uncover the complex interrelated organizational and technological factors that affect the design of performance management systems. Furthermore, guidance is given on how to overcome these issues to gain satisfactory outcomes in system implementations. To this end, the key findings point towards three essential design efforts: 1) designing the performance measurement model and metrics, 2) designing the procedures for capturing, storing, and processing data, and 3) designing the process and system for delivering performance information to the users. In addition, the results highlight that success in system development initiatives is heavily influenced by contextual factors and especially the interaction of essential stakeholders throughout the design process. The study contributes to the existing body of theoretical knowledge on information systems design. In addition, it provides empirical insight on the design of novel IT artifacts and the principles that are deemed effective for developing performance management systems. Furthermore, the study provides a better overall understanding of the relevant kernel theories that inform the design knowledge and help to explain the associated organizational phenomena. The practical contribution of the study builds upon the guidance provided to system designers and managers through several frameworks, IT artifacts, and management practices for information systems design processes.
Translated title of the contributionDesign framework for performance management systems : an ensemble approach
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Tuunainen, Virpi, Supervising Professor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-5212-0
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-5213-7
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • design research
  • ensemble artifact
  • case study
  • performance management systems
  • performance measurement
  • business intelligence
  • dashboard
  • action design research
  • agency theory
  • IT service


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