Ambiguity in performance management systems of complex multi-stakeholder organisations

Udechukwu Ojiako, Umit Bititci, Alasdair Marshall, Maxwell Chipulu, Graham Manville, Subha Jayanti Muthalagu, Thomas Farrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


This study undertakes an in-depth and rigorous exploration and explanation of the sources and implications of ambiguity in performance measurement systems and performance management practices (PMM) systems of complex multi-stakeholder organisations. In doing so, it contributes to the literature on performance measurement theories. The study is undertaken in the form of a fine-grained, inductive case study with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) of the National Health Service of England. Data are obtained from multiple exploratory interviews with CAMHS stakeholders. The study surfaces factors that create ambiguities in the PMM practices of complex multi-stakeholder organisations, which interact in complex ways, raising questions over the value of PMM systems and practices. The originality of the paper is threefold. First, it opens a new area of debate in relation to performance measurement in complex multi-stakeholder organisations. Second, the findings demonstrate the complex interrelationships between the sources and manifestations of ambiguity advance the knowledge of PMM systems and implications in such organisations. Third, the findings reveal that the nature of complex multi-stakeholder organisations suppresses open, participative and inclusive social controls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1393-1413
Number of pages21
JournalProduction Planning & Control
Issue number14
Early online date6 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • ambiguity
  • complex multi-stakeholder organisations
  • organisational control
  • Performance measurement

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