In today's competitive business environment, performance measurement and management have become crucial to success. While several tools and frameworks aim to enhance organizational performance, one that stands out due to its comprehensive and multi-dimensional approach is the Performance Prism. This guide will provide an in-depth understanding of the Performance Prism, its unique facets, and levels. Let’s get started.

What Is a Performance Prism

The Performance Prism, pioneered by Cranfield University's Centre for Business Performance, represents an innovative approach to performance management and measurement. It offers a holistic view of an organization's performance by considering a broad range of perspectives.

performance prism

Image from IMAA Institute Org

Unlike traditional performance measurement models which primarily focus on financial results and internal processes, the Performance Prism integrates multiple aspects including external factors like customer satisfaction, shareholder interests, and societal impact.

The underlying principle of the Performance Prism is that all entities associated with an organization - from investors to employees to customers - have certain wants and contributions. The organization's objective should be to balance these different demands while optimizing contributions to achieve desired outcomes.

5 Facets and 3 Levels of a Performance Prism

The Performance Prism is divided into five facets which represent different areas of organizational performance:

Stakeholder Satisfaction

This facet explores what stakeholders (customers, shareholders, employees, suppliers) want and need from the organization. It emphasizes the importance of meeting these expectations to ensure stakeholder satisfaction.


This facet delves into strategies that need to be implemented to satisfy stakeholder expectations. It involves setting objectives, formulating strategies, and developing key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure progress.


This facet examines the processes and capabilities required to execute the strategies effectively. It involves evaluating operational efficiency, technological capabilities, innovation potential, etc.

Stakeholder Contribution

This facet considers what the organization needs from its stakeholders to operate effectively. It involves understanding and managing inputs like capital from investors, skills from employees, loyalty from customers, etc.

Strategic Linkages

The final facet links the strategies with stakeholder satisfaction and contributions, and internal processes. It helps maintain alignment between various elements of the organization's operational framework.

These five facets operate across three distinct levels:

  • Level 1: High-level strategic objectives linked directly to stakeholder needs and wants.
  • Level 2: Specific measures or KPIs that monitor progress towards these objectives.
  • Level 3: Detailed operational metrics that indicate the effectiveness of processes supporting strategic objectives.

Performance Prism offers a comprehensive model for organizational performance measurement. By examining five unique facets at three levels, it enables organizations to balance various stakeholder interests, align strategies with processes, and ensure effective execution of strategies leading to improved performance.

When to Use a Performance Prism

The Performance Prism framework is not limited to certain industries or specific scenarios but can be applied broadly across different business landscapes. However, there are circumstances when its use proves highly advantageous.

Transformation Initiatives

When an organization is planning or executing a significant strategic transformation, the Performance Prism can aid in evaluating its potential impact on various stakeholders and assess how their contributions might be influenced.

Stakeholder Engagement

In scenarios where multiple stakeholder interests need to be balanced, such as public sector organizations, charities, or companies with diverse customer bases, the Performance Prism provides a comprehensive structure for assessing and meeting the needs of all parties involved.

Strategic Realignment

If a company's current strategies and processes are not delivering the expected results, the Performance Prism can help identify where misalignments might exist and guide reengineering efforts.

Benefits of a Performance Prism

The Performance Prism brings multiple benefits to organizations that implement it:

  • Comprehensive Performance View: By considering both stakeholder requirements and contributions, as well as strategic initiatives and operational processes, the Performance Prism provides a more holistic view of performance than many traditional methods.
  • Improved Stakeholder Relations: The framework encourages organizations to recognize and meet stakeholder needs actively, potentially leading to enhanced relationships and increased satisfaction levels.
  • Greater Strategic Alignment: By linking strategic objectives directly with operational processes and stakeholder requirements, the Performance Prism ensures tighter strategic alignment throughout the organization.
  • Better Decision Making: Through its inclusive perspective, the Performance Prism aids managers in making better-informed decisions by highlighting potential impacts on different stakeholder groups and internal processes.

Performance Prism vs. Balanced Scorecard

Both the Performance Prism and Balanced Scorecard (BSC) serve as valuable tools in measuring and managing organizational performance. However, they differ in their perspectives, emphasis, and approach to strategy. Here's a detailed comparison of these two performance management frameworks:

1. Perspective

The Balanced Scorecard focuses on four perspectives: financial, customer, internal process, and learning & growth. These dimensions provide a balanced view of performance from different aspects but are primarily internal-facing.

On the other hand, the Performance Prism takes into account five facets: stakeholder satisfaction, strategies, processes, stakeholder contribution, and strategic linkages. It offers a more extensive view by considering both internal and external factors affecting performance.

2. Stakeholder Focus

The BSC places a strong emphasis on customer and financial perspectives. While it acknowledges the importance of other stakeholders such as employees (under the learning and growth perspective), it doesn't consider a wider range of stakeholders as comprehensively.

In contrast, the Performance Prism places significant emphasis on various stakeholders' needs and contributions. It requires organizations to evaluate what they want from their stakeholders and what these stakeholders want from them.

3. Strategy Linkage

The BSC adopts a top-down approach where strategy drives the selection of performance measures. The linkage is linear - from the corporate vision and strategy down to operational measures.

The Performance Prism, however, uses a bidirectional approach linking strategies to both stakeholder satisfaction and contributions and the processes needed to achieve strategic objectives. It ensures a tighter alignment between strategies, operations, and stakeholder requirements.

4. Flexibility

The Balanced Scorecard provides a more rigid structure with its four perspectives, each of which must be considered in developing performance measures.

Conversely, the Performance Prism provides greater flexibility in recognizing various stakeholders' unique needs and contributions. This makes it particularly beneficial for organizations operating in dynamic environments with diverse stakeholder groups.

A Versatile Performance Prism Maker - Boardmix

In the world of performance management, one tool has proven its effectiveness and versatility in multiple ways: Boardmix Performance Prism maker. This tool has brought about a paradigm shift in how organizations measure and manage their performance, enabling them to adopt a stakeholder-oriented and strategy-driven approach that leads to improved outcomes.

performance prism boardmix

Boardmix is a comprehensive software solution that operationalizes the Performance Prism framework. It allows organizations to visualize their performance from various angles, including stakeholder satisfaction, strategies, processes, capabilities, and stakeholder contributions. This multi-faceted view ensures a holistic understanding of performance and its influencing factors. Just sign up and try it out now!

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