Performance management in the United States and France
: four case studies in the retail and airline industries

  • Bruno Cohanier

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The profusion of performance measurement models suggested by Management Accounting literature in the 1990’s is one illustration of the substantial changes in Management Accounting teaching materials since the publication of “Relevance Lost” in 1987. At the same time, in the general context of increasing competition and globalisation it is widely thought that national cultural differences are tending to disappear, meaning that management techniques used in large companies, including performance measurement and management instruments (PMS), tend to be the same, irrespective of the company nationality or location. North American management practice is traditionally described as a contractually based model, mainly focused on financial performance information and measures (FPMs), more shareholder-focused than French companies. Within France, literature historically defined performance as being broadly multidimensional, driven by the idea that there are no universal rules of management and that efficient management takes into account local culture and traditions. As opposed to their North American brethren, French companies are pressured more by the financial institutions that fund them rather than by capital markets. Therefore, they pay greater attention to the long-term because they are not subject to quarterly capital market objectives. Hence, management in France should rely more on long-term qualitative information, less financial, and more multidimensional data to assess performance than their North American counterparts. The objective of this research is to investigate whether large French and US companies’ practices have changed in the way the textbooks have changed with regards to performance measurement and management, or whether cultural differences are still driving differences in performance measurement and management between them. The research findings support the idea that large US and French companies share the same PMS features, influenced by ‘universal’ PM models.
Date of Award23 Jan 2012
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorTerry J Brignall (Supervisor) & Stuart M Cooper (Supervisor)


  • performance management
  • United States of America
  • France
  • retail
  • airline

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