The Practices and Challenges of Balanced Scorecard Design and Implementation: the Case of the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority

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Addis Ababa University


The balanced scorecard has been largely used as strategy and performance framework in private sector organizations throughout the world. After the introduction of New Public Management, it started t o be us ed in pu blic a nd non-profit o rganizations in o rder t o f acilitate t he p erformance management process. I n spite o f t he increase in t he number o f studies a bout its usefulness a nd futility for t he p rivate s ector, there is still a need t o test the f easibility o f t he B SC a s a management framework in the government and non-profit domain. The BSC in public sector is recently criticized concerning lack of cause-and-effect relationships, lack o f c larity, and failure t o c onsider some t ypes o f stakeholders ( Johanson e t a l. 2006 ; Norreklit 2000, 2003). Other researchers/scholars have also raised questions regarding the BSC’s effectiveness ( Othman e t a l. 2006) a nd t he a dequacy o f B SC in varying c ircumstances a nd differing firm types (Maltz et al. 2003). As o f 2 010 t he balanced scorecard car d ( BSC) strategy a nd p erformance framework has be en implemented in many public sector organizations in Ethiopia. Hence the researcher is motivated to investigate the practice and challenges o f BSC design a nd implementation in Ethiopia public sector i n case o f Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority as statement o f t he problem (The Ministry of Capacity Building report, 2005). The E thiopian R evenues a nd C ustoms Authority (E RCA) is federal g overnment a gency established in 2008 w ith pr oclamation N o. 587/ 2008 to ad ministrate f ederal g overnment t ax jurisdiction and enforce customs laws (proclamation No. 587/2008). The g eneral o bjective o f t he r esearch is t o a ssess t he p ractice & identify the ch allenges of balanced s corecard building & its implementation in E RCA a s change, c ommunication and strategic management t ool. To w hat e xtent the strategic p erformance management t ools t hat is BSC d esigned a nd implemented ap propriately; a nd w hat ar e t he strengths, w eaknesses, challenges, and lessons of the design and implementing BSC project are the research questions to be e xamined. Hopefully the result o f t his investigation w ill contribute to solve problems related to the design and implementation of the BSC in other public organization. The scope is limited in the BSC building and its implementation. The main limitation of this study lies in its application to a v ery s ingular t ype o f o rganization t hat operates as a d river t o i mprove t he e fficiency a nd nimbleness of other public organizations. D ocument review w as t he p rimary t echnique o f d ata collection, b esides questionnaire and i nterview w ere also us ed t o ga ther data. O n t he d ata presentation, t he top m anagement c ommitment, six st eps of building B SC a nd three s teps of implementing BSC (System roll out) are comprehensively reviewed. In t he s ummery o f finding t here ar e quite a significant s trength in t he t op m anagement commitment and sizeable weakness and strength throughout the nine steps of BSC building and its implementation o r s ystem r olls o ut. I n t he concluding r emarks basically t here is a q uite considerable pr oblem in t he design a nd implementation o f B SC in E RCA. Accordingly t he recommendation is forwarded to tackle problems



Customs authority