Topics: 1916, 1978, 1946 Pages: 19 (7791 words) Published: May 15, 2014
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Evolving benchmarking
practices: a review for research


Paul Hong
Department of Information Operations and Technology Management, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA

Soon W. Hong
Department of Industrial Engineering and Management,
Youngdong University, Chungbuk, South Korea

James Jungbae Roh
Rohrer College of Business, Rowan University, Glassboro,
New Jersey, USA, and

Kihyun Park
Department of Management, Robert Morris University, Moon Township, Pennsylvania, USA
Purpose – The purpose of this study is to review a major section of the literature on benchmarking practices in order to achieve better perspectives for emerging benchmarking research streams. Design/methodology/approach – The paper examines the benchmarking literature and presents a framework that suggests evolving patterns of firms’ benchmarking practices. This paper examines the studies published in Benchmarking: An International Journal and other articles related to benchmarking practices in major Strategic Management, OM/SCM, and Technology Management journals from 2001 to 2010.

Findings – Benchmarking remains an important strategic tool of business in turbulent times. Five research dimensions for benchmarking are discussed in terms of the following: strategy-based benchmarking; operational effectiveness-based benchmarking; technical efficiency-based benchmarking; and micro-macro integrative benchmarking. For sustainable competitive advantage, benchmarking goes beyond the operational level and moves into a wide range of value chain, strategic, operational, and project levels.

Research limitations/implications – The study contributes to the benchmarking literature by identifying key areas of benchmarking. It reflects a qualitative orientation, but future research may achieve a more systematic and quantitative analysis of the benchmarking literature. Originality/value – This review paper is unique in that it examines the benchmarking literature and summarizes the results in order to gain a proper understanding of benchmarking and provide perspectives for future research.

Benchmarking: An International
Vol. 19 No. 4/5, 2012
pp. 444-462
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/14635771211257945

Keywords Emerging benchmarking practices, Sustainable competitive advantage, Turbulent environment, Literature review, Supply chain management, Competitive advantage, Benchmarking
Paper type Literature review

Benchmarking is recognized as “an essential tool for continuous improvement of quality” Dattakumar and Jagadeesh (2003). Over the years benchmarking practices have continually evolved in diverse ways. Certainly, benchmarking is an important business practice priority. The purpose of benchmarking is to systematically identify the processes and performance outcomes of an outstanding organization with those of its competitors as well as to compare processes and outcomes within the organization itself in the constantly changing business environment (Bemowski, 1991; Maire, 2002; Freytag and Hollensen, 2001; Dervitsiotis, 2000; Vaziri, 1992; O’Dell and Grayson, 2000; Still and Strang, 2009). This comparative effort is essential for individuals, organizations, and industries to improve their business processes and attain their performance goals. In fact, the unique aim of Benchmarking: An International Journal is to “examine a radical business process that is revolutionizing established practice and performance.” Over the years there have been marked changes in the ways in which organizations approach benchmarking. The aim of this paper is to review these changes in relation to benchmarking in the past ten years. Specific research questions are:

RQ1. How has the nature and the scope of benchmarking changed over the years? RQ2. What are the...

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