Key performance indicator disclosures through the internet: towards an integrated scoreboard
Lopes, Ilídio Tomás
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Purpose. Information disclosure is driven by multiple determinants, most of them supported by traditional theories, such as agency theory, contingency theory, and legitimacy theory. This research aims to identify a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPI), disclosed to stakeholders through Internet. It also aims to apply for an integrated performance scoreboard, acting as a dynamic comparative tool, in particular for listed companies whose market value is driven by investor expectations and needs. Design/methodology/approach. Based on 47 listed companies from the Portuguese Stock Index regulated market, and through an interpretive content analysis, research was driven towards the identification of KPI that were explicitly reported to stakeholders through structured or unstructured frameworks. This qualitative approach supports the evidence on performance indicators reported by listed companies to stakeholders, in particular to potential stockholders. Findings. Companies disclose a wide variety of key performance indicators, however in most cases included in their periodical management reports. Only some companies disclose those indicators through a visible form in their websites. Furthermore, the disclosed KPI have a generic nature and are usually complemented by theoretical explanations about their evolution and trends. The diversity of indicators disclosed does not permit a comparison between companies and activity sectors. Key performance indicators are still disclosed on a voluntarily basis, remaining, within this scope, multiple agency conflicts and other issues around agency costs. Considering the intensity and categorisation of in information disclosure, a standard framework is required in order to ensure a dynamic comparison between companies or sectors. Research limitations. The scope of this research is the regulated market of Portugal. Further research can include sample companies listed in other European regulated markets or even non-listed companies. The selection of indicators for the proposed framework was based exclusively on frequencies and not on the value and importance attributed to them by stakeholders. Thus, a survey is required in order to certify that the selected indicators are the ones that best fit stakeholder expectations and needs. Furthermore, the research was based on website content and management report analysis that determines a certain level of subjectivity, natural source of interpretation biases. Practical implications. Empirical evidence is the basis for a structured KPI scoreboard proposal in order to ensure a periodical comparison between companies, from the perspective of external stakeholders. Originality/value. This paper grants and promotes an integrated overview about the key performance indicators expressly disclosed to stakeholders through Internet by Portuguese listed companies. This evidence has used scoreboard proposal as a basis for towards a comparative analysis in the traditional balanced scorecard perspectives. This scoreboard can be disclosed to the market by companies as a basis for an overall performance evaluation and business comprehensiveness. However, further developments are required, in particular in the domain of policy making. Information disclosed to the market is not regulated enough in order to minimise the performance analysis discretion and overall transparency.
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