David P. Norton

American business theorist, business executive and management consultant

David P. Norton (born 1941) is an American business theorist, business executive and management consultant man, known as co-creator, together with Robert S. Kaplan, of the balanced scorecard.


  • A company's ability to innovate, improve, and learn ties directly to the company's value.
    • David P. Norton (1992), cited in: ASQC ... Annual Quality Congress Proceedings, 1994, p. 343

The Balanced Scorecard, 1996


Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton. The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action. 1996

  • Today, organizations are competing in complex environments so that an accurate understanding of their goals and the methods for attaining those goals is vital. The Balanced Scorecard translates an organization’s mission and strategy into a comprehensive set of performance measures that provides the framework for a strategic measurement and management system.
    • p. 2
  • Companies are in the midst of a revolutionary transformation. Industrial age competition is shifting to information age competition. During the industrial age, from 1850 to about 1975, companies succeeded by how well they could capture the benefits from economies of scale and scope. Technology mattered, but, ultimately, success accrued to companies that could embed the new technology into physical assets that offered efficient, mass production of standard products.
During the industrial age, financial control systems were developed in companies, such as General Motors, DuPont, Matsushita, and General Electric, to facilitate and monitor efficient allocations of financial and physical capital. A summary financial measure such as return-on-capital employed (ROCE) could both direct a company’s internal capital to its most productive use and monitor the efficiency by which operating divisions used financial and physical capital to create value for shareholders.
The emergence of the information era, however, in the last decades of the twentieth century, made obsolete many of the fundamental assumptions of industrial age competition. No longer could companies gain sustainable competitive advantage by merely deploying new technology into physical assets rapidly, and by excellent management of financial assets and liabilities.
  • p. 2-3
  • Industrial age companies created sharp distinctions between two groups of employees. The intellectual elite—managers and engineers—used their analytical skills to design products and processes, select and manage customers, and supervise day-to-day operations. The second group was composed of the people who actually produced the products and delivered the services. This direct labor work force was a principal factor of production for industrial age companies, but used only their physical capabilities, not their minds. They performed tasks and processes under direct supervision of white-collar engineers and managers. At the end of the twentieth century, automation and productivity have reduced the percentage of people in the organization who perform traditional work functions, while competitive demands have increased the number of people performing analytic functions: engineering, marketing, management, and administration. Even individuals still involved in direct production and service delivery are valued for their suggestions on how to improve quality, reduce costs, and decrease cycle times...
Now all employees must contribute value by what they know and by the information they can provide. Investing in, managing, and exploiting the knowledge of every employee have become critical to the success of information age companies
  • p. 5-6

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