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Strategy map

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Title: Strategy map  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Balanced scorecard, BSC SWOT, Strategy, Strategic management, Enterprise performance management
Collection: Business Models
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Strategy map

Generic Strategy Map

A strategy map is a diagram that is used to document the primary strategic goals being pursued by an management team. It is an element of the documentation associated with the Balanced Scorecard, and in particular is characteristic of the second generation of Balanced Scorecard designs that first appeared during the mid-1990s. The first diagrams of this type appeared in the early 1990s, and the idea of using this type of diagram to help document Balanced Scorecard was discussed in a paper by Drs. Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton in 1996.[1]

The strategy map idea featured in several books and articles during the late 1990s by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton and others, including most notably Olve and Wetter in their 1998/9 book Performance Drivers.[2]

Across this broad range of published sources, there are only a few common attributes. Strategy maps show:

  • Each objective as text appearing within a shape (usually an oval or rectangle)
  • Relatively few objectives (usually less than 20)
  • Objectives are arrayed across two or more horizontal bands on the strategy map, with each band representing a 'perspective'
  • Broad causal relationships between objectives shown with arrows that either join objectives together, or placed in a way not linked with specific objectives but to provide general euphemistic indications of where causality lies.

The purpose of the strategy map in Balanced Scorecard design, and its emergence as a design aid, is discussed in some detail in a research paper on the evolution of Balanced Scorecard designs during the 1990s by Lawrie & Cobbold.[3]


  • Origin of strategy maps 1
  • Perspectives 2
  • Links between the strategy map and strategy development 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Origin of strategy maps

The Balanced Scorecard is a framework that is used to help in the design and implementation of strategic performance management tools within organizations. The Balanced Scorecard provides a simple structure for representing the

One of the big challenges faced in the design of Balanced Scorecard based performance management systems is deciding what activities and outcomes to monitor. By providing a simple visual representation of the strategic objectives to be focused on, along with additional visual cues in the form of the perspectives and causal arrows, the strategy map has been found useful in enabling discussion within a management team about what objectives to choose, and subsequently to support discussion of the actual performance achieved.


Early Balanced Scorecard articles by

  • Strategic decision making and national differences [3]
  • Strategy Maps - A Guide and Strategy Map Templates [4]

External links

  1. ^  
  2. ^ Olve, Nils-Goran; Roy, Jan; Wetter, Magnus (1999), Performance Drivers: A practical guide to using the Balanced Scorecard, John Wiley & Sons 
  3. ^ Lawrie, Gavin J. G.; Cobbold, Ian (2004), "Third-generation Balanced Scorecard: evolution of an effective strategic control tool", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management 53 (7): 611–623,  
  4. ^  
  5. ^ Butler, A.; Letza, S. R.; Neale, B. (1997), "Linking the Balanced Scorecard to Strategy", International Journal of Strategic Management 30 (2) 
  6. ^ Kennerley, M.; Neely, A. D. (2000), "Performance Measurement Frameworks – A Review", Proceedings, 2nd International Conference on Performance Measurement, Cambridge, UK 
  7. ^  


See also

The strategy map is a device used to communicate the strategy, focus organization efforts, and choose appropriate measures to report on an organisation's progress in implementing a strategy. Over the years many have suggested that it should be used as a strategy development tool - including Kaplan & Norton in their book "The Strategy Focused Organisation" who argue that organisations could adopt 'industry standard' templates (basically a set of pre-determined strategic objectives) if the managers can't work out a strategy for themselves. This type of approach is fraught with problems (e.g. what is the competitive advantage arising from a strategy developed in this way?).

Links between the strategy map and strategy development

Despite these concerns, the 'standard' set of perspectives remains the most common, and traditionally is arrayed on the strategy map in the sequence (from bottom to top) "Learning & Growth", "Internal Business Processes", "Customer", "Financial" with causal arrows tending to flow "up" the page.[7]


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