A respected management practice, closely associated with Total Quality Management practices and Organizational Excellence. Its advocates regard it as essential for organizational improvement, but its critics hold it to be a-theoretical as its success is incapable of prior determination.
John Moriarty's Doctoral research addresses these criticisms and advances a 'Theory of Benchmarking' that incorporates and extends current practice. Effective Benchmarking is advanced as a teleological process governed by a single axiom and three principal propositions: Peircean causation, welfare improvement and logical relationships between the exemplar and an "anomalar" (defined as an entity striving to be exemplary). Current benchmarking practices are demonstrated to be variously successful approximations of these governing relationships.
The ever-increasing types and forms of benchmarking are shown to be unnecessary, as are the prolific number of different benchmarking processes that claim success under some, but not all situations. The 'Theory of Benchmarking' does not subdivide benchmarking into forms: benchmarking is benchmarking! So-called 'internal or external' benchmarking are theoretically identical - although their administrative or logistical processes may differ.
The 'Theory of Benchmarking' is also presented as a practitioner process where prior success may be determined by establishing three critical (logical) relationships between the anomalar and exemplar.
Access the PhD Thesis 'A Theory of Benchmarking' and the following refereed publications:
Moriarty, J. P. & Smallman, C. (2009) En Route to a Theory of Benchmarking. Benchmarking: An International Journal, 16, 484-503.
Moriarty, J.P. (2011) A Theory of Benchmarking. Benchmarking: An International Journal, 18 (4) pp.588 - 611
Lecture Material on Benchmarking
Benchmarking Lecture to MBA & Undergraduates at Victoria University of Wellington