Research: Benchmarking & Scenario Analysis:
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 held it to be a-theoretical as its success was incapable of prior determination.
John Moriarty's Doctoral research addressed these criticisms and advanced a 'Theory of Benchmarking' that incorporated and extended current practice. Effective Benchmarking is explained 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 were shown to be unnecessary, as were the prolific number of different benchmarking processes that claimed success under some, but not all situations. So-called 'internal or external' benchmarking are theoretically identical - although their administrative or logistical processes may differ.
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
Benchmarking Lecture to MBA & Undergraduates at Victoria University of Wellington
Similarly, Scenario Analysis was another popular, but a-theoretical, management practice. Although the future cannot be determined with certainty, plausible and justifiable future states of affairs can be advanced if attention is paid to a set of theoretical principals - similar to those governing Benchmarking. These principals were published in JOST - using Tourism as a management exemplar.