Provide a comprehensive definition of the Balanced Scorecard framework,

Measuring Sustainability

(Author’s name)

(Institutional Affiliation)

Provide a comprehensive definition of the Balanced Scorecard framework, including anticipated benefits, balance of financial and non-financial metrics, significance of cause-and-effect linkages, role of Strategy Maps, implementation, and/or measurement challenges.

The balanced scorecard was developed by David Norton and Robert Kaplan in 1990 to act as a management tool. The management tool’s main purpose is to provide the user with non- financial and financial metrics in four different main areas; financial performance, internal business process perspective, customer perspective, and growth and learning perspective. In the process of implementing the management tool, an organization has to come up with lagging and leading metrics in each of the above metrics to use in such areas as setting goals, evaluating performance, and ultimately to help in optimizing and identifying results derived from the cause- and – effect linkages that exist among the four perspectives. The balanced scorecard has since developed into a balanced scorecard framework that is made up of the balance scorecard itself, and another management tool, and a strategy map. In the recent years, there has been an increase in the number of individuals seeking to use the balanced scorecard framework for measuring business performance as a sustainable management basis.

Provide a comprehensive definition of STARS, including its stated goals (five broad objectives), and the primary internal and external stakeholder groups addressed in the three STARS perspectives.

STARS, sustainability tracking and rating system are a campus sustainability scorecard model that was developed by the association for the advancement of sustainability in higher education or the AASHE. The program was built to measure sustainability in three main areas; operations, research and education, planning, engagement and administration. The perspectives of the STARS addressed different stakeholders. These included different departments of the SU campus and different sustainability officers. The STARS also needed the involvement of different staff members from the campus.

Review user guidance provided in the STARS Technical Manual. Choose five specific credits in each of the three broad categories. Comment on what you see as potential implementation and/or measurement benefits and challenges

The guidelines indicate that any framework that an organization decides to use in promoting its sustainable developments, several criteria have to be met. Some of the main ones include addressing the sustainability bottom line; economic sustainability, environmental and social sustainability. In addition to this, the guideline indicates that the organization must have metrics that can be easily measured and understood. From these guidelines, it is possible to see that the social and economic metrics can be easily implemented, while it would be challenging to implement the environmental performance. This is because of the affordability of the measure. Implementing an effective environmental metric requires a lot of money which most institutions do not have.

Determine how SU specifically gained support for implementing the STARS model and whether this was good management practice.

There are several ways through which the university gained support for the implementation of the STARS pilot study. The top administrators of the university were first contacted by the director of the program for permission to contact the pilot study in the institution. Just as well, the university was appointed as a suitable site for conducting the study. Several entities were soon contacted as the main correspondents of the study who were going to ensure that the collected data was accurate. More specifically, all the staff were notified by two vice presidents of the school of the need for them to introduce STARS program and to notify them of the need to work with the Sustainability office to provide any data that was required.

The involved entities in this case included the faculty, operating staff, and the professional staff. The students were not involved with this pilot study except for the one undergraduate student who was working with the Associate Director to obtain data, as well as, collating and submitting it. The faculty members were found to be the least supportive members, though a few of them remained supportive of the university’s initiative. It was found that a majority of faculty members did not respond to the surveys carried out by the sustainability office, or any information requests that were directed at them. It was thought that the reason for this was maybe because of the faculty’s unclearness as to what constituted research or teaching that was related or focused to sustainability.

However, the faculty and other members of staff soon realized and learned something as the project progressed. They started to understand more fully what the sustainability program was all about. Specifically, they learned that the program did not only involve operations but also academic research and programs. As a result of this new understanding, the sustainability office was provided with more support and opportunities to partner with other individuals in the university. In addition to this, the model was used to come up with other new initiatives for the school such as a sustainability awards program. To implement these new projects, the sustainability office would have to work directly with several offices in the campus. This was an excellent management practice. This is because the support of the sustainability program was gained only after the staff received some incentive and motivation. Motivation and incentives are good management practices (Patricia, et al., 1997). The incentive was that the program was going to make the academic research and programming better, as well as, improve the programs of the institution. This motivated the staff to give the program support.

Determine the most difficult challenge faced by SU in implementing the STARS model.

In implementing the sustainability model, the institution faced several challenges. The main one, however, was that the faculty was difficult when it came to giving the program support. While some member were involved and were supportive of the program, many remained unresponsive and unsupportive of the program. They, therefore, did not answer or provide questions, surveys or other types of requests the sustainability office asked. It, therefore, became extremely difficult to collect useful information.

Analyze whether or not SU’s participation in the STARS pilot study will/did add value to the institution.

The participation of the institution in the pilot study was extremely useful in adding value to the university. This is because the study provides the institution with more information on how advance in numerous causes, in addition to, academic research. The STARS model also introduced some essential new initiatives in the university such as the sustainability awards program. The participation in the pilot study would also add the value of the institution if the university scored higher on the score card provided by the sustainability program. For example, the value of the institution would be higher if it scored higher on such items as higher education sustainability, research and sustainable performance. If the university obtained more scores on these items, it would increase its reputation as an excellent institution and, therefore, its value. The sustainability program would also make the institution work harder in establishing and improving on the items on the scorecard of the program so as to score higher points. As a result, the value of the institution would also be increased.

Evaluate whether or not the STARS model rewards higher education for focusing on the “low-hanging fruit” or its more long-term strategic sustainability challenges.

The STARS model is most suitable for rewarding and commenting strategic sustainability actions that are more focused on long- term effects than short- term. This is because the model seemed to award SU with fewer points for not accomplishing sustainable performance that was meant to last and to be valuable for a long time. For example, the university received fewer points for not implementing LEED- certified systems and buildings that were to add long- term value and benefits for the institution. The program also gave more points to such projects as installing bike racks near a building, and implementing systems that were energy efficient in the institution, than such programs as academic courses. This shows that the program was more focused on value that was long- term than in attaining results that were short- term, and ‘low hanging’.

Were there downside risks relative to SU’s participation in the STARS pilot? Explain

Yes. The program seemed to put more focus on programs that were not academic. There was a risk that the program would make the institution focus more on other issues like sustainability and less on academic programs. This was because STARS gave student activities, and other energy saving activities more points that academic programs, course and research. There is a risk that the academic position of the institution would be compromised.

Compare the Balanced Scorecard framework to the STARS model in the following areas, noting similarities and differences: stakeholders addressed, primary use of performance metrics for rating or ranking (or both), and the relative focus of each of the two models on the link to organizational strategy.

The two programs are slightly different in different aspects. For example, the balanced scorecard addresses businesses, academics, as well as consultants, the STARS has been shown to only address academic institutions. While the balanced score card measures such metrics as customer perspective, financial perspective, learning and growth perspective, the STARS addresses such issues as operations, education and research, and planning, engagement and administration. The two programs are, however, similar in that they require the full support of the available management resources and systems.

Use Web resources to learn about your institution’s sustainability strategy, sustainability infrastructure, and sustainability performance measurement systems in place and answer the following question: Would your institution benefit from adopting STARS at this time? Explain why or why not.

My institution would only benefit slightly from the STARS pilot study. This is because my institution has developed and adopted numerous sustainability projects. It can, however, benefit from the project in that STARS would provide it with suitable measurement metrics, which the institution lacks, and other systems that the institution can use in furthering and advancing these projects.


Patricia, K. et al. (1997). Benchmarking for Best Practices in the Public Sector. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.