Biljana Pesalj

My research is in the field of Management Accounting and it is focused on design and use of the performance measurement (PM) systems in small and medium sized companies (SMEs).

Performance measurement systems measure the progress of companies and organizations in achieving its goals. They are of critical importance to ensure the strategic focus of companies and improvement of performance, which is vital in the age of high competition. Performance measurement is important for any company, including SMEs. However not enough is known about how SMEs use these systems and further in which way these systems need to be implemented and used to help SMEs survive and grow.

Research that I conduct explores the design and implementation of performance measurement systems as an integral part of strategic manageBiljana in actionment of SMEs. It looks into ways in which performance measurement can be used to help SMEs explicitly formulate their strategic orientation, increase shared understanding of the company and its direction, support the development of the innovation capability and learning and consequently improve performance.

At this phase research dominantly uses qualitative approach. In the longer run on the basis of the multiple case studies I hope to be able to provide generalization and build basis for the quantitative research as well. There are diverse outcomes of the research conducted in Dutch SMEs and they are all driven by the relationship and interdependence between applied research, education and business. To that end:

– Scientific papers are presented at conferences and published in order to validate the findings;

– Case studies are prepared, registered and used as a teaching material in the classroom and

– Workshops with management teams are facilitated to assist companies and organizations improve their existing performance measurements system or design one.


Selected, recent publications and presentation at conferences:

“A Strategic Dialogue Approach to the Interactive Use of Performance Measurement Systems” 8th Conference in Performance Measurement and Management Control, EIASM, Nice, 30 September – 2 October, 2015. (with M. Walsh)

Performance Effects of Performance Measurement Systems – Evidence from a Transition Economy“, (2014) in A. Davila, M. Epstein, J.-F. Manzoni (eds.) Performance Measurement and Management Control: Behavioral Implications and Human Actions (Studies in Managerial and Financial Accounting, Volume 28), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 127-151.

Les systèmes de mesure de la performance dans les entreprises multinationales  – cas de la Serbie”, (2013), [Performance measurement systems in multinational companies: the evidence from Serbia] in Nouveaux Defis du Management International, Collection «Management International», V. Carbone, J.-P. Lemaire et Sophie Nivoix (eds.), Gualino.

Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility as a source of competitive advantage – case of Van Houtum company”, (2012), Economic ideas and practice, 6, p. 45-59. (with S. Buivys and R. Ainsbury)

Work in progress: “Use of performance measurement systems to create dynamic tensions and balance between emergent and intended strategies in SMEs: A levers of control perspective”


Case studies:

SMGE: strategic challenges and performance measurement in a small-sized company” (B. Pesalj and R. Vieveen, 2015, The Case Centre), Case study and teaching notes.

Short summary of the case:

Case portrays the Superior Manufacturing Group Europe (SMGE), Barendrecht (Netherlands), a small-sized company doing business in the matting industry; facing challenges of how to sustain and improve its performance, by balancing between entrepreneurial initiative, and a need for strategic planning and control. René, the managing director and his team are preparing to conduct the review of the Balanced Scorecard that was introduced a few years before and to reflect on its usefulness and possibilities for improvement. The Balanced Scorecard (BSC), as many other management tools has been developed for large companies. Can small and medium sized companies make use of it and in which way? Can BSC be used to enable strategy formulation and development and bring in the focus?

Feature of the case published at the Case Centre.

Work in progress:

“SMGE: Sources of innovation in a small-sized company”

Short summary of the case:

Case portrays the Superior Manufacturing Group Europe (SMGE), Barendrecht (Netherlands), a small-sized company facing challenges of how to develop and grow through innovation, in an increasingly competitive business environment. In a difference to large companies small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have limited resources that prohibit systematic engagement in R&D activities. In which way SMEs can ensure the improvements of existing products and the development of new ones in order to successfully compete in the age characterized by rapid innovation?


Workshops for companies and organizations aimed at the improvement of their performance measurement system:

Review of the Balanced Scorecards in SMGE, Barendrecht, September 2014.  –  May 2015.

Design and implementation of the Balanced Scorecard in SMG, Chicago, forthcoming from February 2016.

Design and implementation of the performance measurement system for high performing organizations in CoIA, January 2016 – ongoing.


Visual - Research overview for the website








Biljana Pesalj