The Balanced Scorecard: Structure and Use in Canadian

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A Thesis Submitted to the College of Graduate Studies and Research in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in the Department of Accounting
University of Saskatchewan

Marvin J. Soderberg

Copyright Marvin Soderberg April 2006. All Rights Reserved. Use shall not be made of the material contained herein without proper acknowledgement, as indicated on the following page.


The author has agreed that the Library, University of Saskatchewan, may make this thesis freely available for inspection. Moreover, the author has agreed that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes ma y be granted by the professor who supervised the thesis work recorded herein or, in his absence, by the Head of the Department of Accounting, or the Dean of the College of Commerce. It is understood that due recognition will be given to the author of this thesis and to the University of Saskatchewan in any use of the material in this thesis. Copying or publication or any other use of the thesis for financial gain without approval by the University of Saskatchewan and the author’s written permission is prohibited.

Requests for permission to copy or make any use of the material in this thesis in whole or in part should be addressed to:

Head of the Department of Accounting
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan



This thesis develops a balanced scorecard model based on the attributes of Kaplan and Norton’s Balanced Scorecard (1992, 1996, 2001). The model is then operationalized using a survey that is administered to CMAs (Certified Management Accountants) employed by for profit, Canadian companies with greater than 51 employees. One hundred and forty nine usable responses were received. The thesis attempts to answer two research questions: (1) What attributes of a Kaplan & Norton (hereafter K&N) Balanced Scorecard (BSC) are present in the performance measurement systems of Canadian organizations? and (2) What are the differences between organizations with different levels of K&N Balanced Scorecard adoption?

Of the 149 responses, 110 (73.8%) organizations were classified as BSC firms (Levels 1 to 4) and 39 (26.2%) were classified as non-BSC firms. The 110 BSC firms were further classified as follows: 15 (13.6%) as Level 1 BSC firms, 14 (12.7%) as Level 2A BSC firms, 20 (18.2%) as Level 2B BSC firms, 25 (22.7%) as Level 3 BSC firms and 36 (32.7%) as Level 4 BSC firms. Thus, based on our conceptual model, we can say that 32.7% of the BSC firms (24.2% of the total respondents) had a fully developed K&N BSC.

The study found several differences between Level 4 and Level 1 BSC organizations. For example, respondents in 83% of the Level 4 organizations, versus in 67% of the Level 1 organizations, indicated that their organizations reviewed their performance measures when their strategy changed.

This study adds to academic research by conceptualizing Kaplan and Norton’s (1996, 2001) Balanced Scorecard and comparing this to the performance measurement systems of Canadian companies. Although there are numerous academic studies on the balanced scorecard (e.g., Chan & Ho 2000; Hoque & James 2000; Lipe & Salterio 2000, 2002; Malina & Selto 2001; Ittner & Larcker 2003; Speckbacher et al. 2003; Stemsrudhagen 2004), only the Speckbacker et al. 2003 study has developed a conceptual model of Kaplan and Norton’s (1992, 1996, 2001) Balanced Scorecard and used it to examine the extent of its adoption. Our study mirrors theirs, with two notable exceptions: we have a different and noteworthy conceptualization of Kaplan and Norton’s Balanced Scorecard and we apply this to a Canadian setting.



First and foremost I thank my family (my wife Valerie and our children...
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