What's the difference between a theme and a perpsective on the Balanced Scorecard? Do most scorecards have themes? If so, what are some common themes?

asked Mar 24 '10 at 20:58

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Dylan ♦♦

Perspectives and themes work together. All scorecards have perspectives, and many have themes. Graphically, perspectives typically run left to right on the strategy map, and themes run top to bottom (although they're sometimes left within the internal perspective.)

Perspectives are the set of (usually) four “viewpoints” to a strategy as represented by key constituents/stakeholders of that strategy. Viewed horizontally, each Perspective represents the set of Objectives desired by a particular stakeholder (Financial, Customer, Internal Process, Learning & Growth/Employees). The perspectives, when taken together, permit a complete view of the strategy and “tell the story of a strategy” in a clearly understandable framework. In unique circumstances, organizations may include a customized Perspective in addition to the four listed above. Example:

  • “Financial”
  • “Customer”
  • “Internal Processes”
  • “Learning and Growth”

Themes are descriptive statements representing a major component of a strategy, as articulated at the highest level in the Vision. Most strategies can be represented in 3-5 Themes. Themes are most often drawn from an organization’s internal processes or the customer value proposition, but may also be drawn from key financial goals. The key is that Themes represent vertically linked groupings of Objectives across several Scorecard Perspectives (at a minimum, Customer and Internal). Themes are often stated as catchy phrases or “buzz” words that are easy for the organization to remember and internalize. Examples:

  • “Top Innovator”
  • “Customer Intimate”
  • “Operationally Excellent”
  • “Processes/Tools”
  • “Thinking”
  • “Content”
  • “Pipeline” (I/T Organization)

answered Mar 24 '10 at 21:25

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Dylan ♦♦

As a side note, in nonprofit organizations, there is typically a "Mission" perspective that goes on the top in addition to (or in place of) the financial perspective. And these perspectives are not 100% written in stone, many organizations change them to meet their purpose.

answered Apr 08 '10 at 14:15

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Matt Jensen

Akio, Many nonnprofits also use Goals rather than themes. "We have 5 key goals..." Then objectives, measures, and initiatives under the goals.

(May 06 '10 at 21:06) Ted Jackson

In some organizations, they just have goals and strategies. Sometimes it is hard to figure out how they fit into the concept of themes and perspectives. If an organization is introducing the BSC, then it is worth trying to figure this out, but if not, you do not have to make the change. Typically goals are like the themes (if an organization has 3-5 key goals), and strategies are like objectives. I think this can be an over-simplification because organizations address these in different ways.

answered Apr 27 '11 at 11:19

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Ted Jackson

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Asked: Mar 24 '10 at 20:58

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Last updated: Apr 27 '11 at 11:19

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