Benchmarking labour market performance and labour market policies: Theoretical foundations and applications

Holger Schütz, Stefan Speckesser, Günther Schmid

    Research output: Working paper


    Over the last few years, "benchmarking" advanced to a key word in organisational development and change management. Originally, benchmarking was a tool in business studies summarising the process of comparing your own with a similar organisational unit (mostly the competitor) in order to improve the competitive position. Benchmarking must be distinguished from purely analytical methods of comparison: First, performance indicators must be developed which differ from traditional design. Secondly, an organisational unit must be found which can be classified as the "best performer" concerning the chosen indicators. The comparison then aims at finding options for the improvement of your own organisational unit in different hierarchical levels with the objective to progress in the position of the "best performer".

    It is understandable to investigate whether or not benchmarking procedures are also applicable in non-profit and public organisational units. In this field, one of the principal research areas for new comparable analytical tools and alternative performance measurement can be seen in the international comparison of labour market policies and their performance outcomes especially after the Amsterdam treaty on international harmonised employment policies: Mutual learning turns out to be inevitable in the European situation which is characterised by converging employment policies as well as by nationally diverging capacities to cope with the labour market problems.

    This discussion paper tests the possibilities of applying benchmarking procedures to the international comparison of labour market policies (LMP) and policy outcomes. We conclude that benchmarking can be performed and should be tested in the monitoring of labour market policies. We indicate both the chances as well as the risks of benchmarking: On the one hand, the introduction of benchmarking could lead to the development and improvement of processes and indicators in LMP evaluation. On the other hand, we clearly point out the danger occurring if the strategies of the "best performers" are used as a blueprints in different institutional contexts.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherWZB Berlin Social Science Center
    Number of pages71
    Publication statusPublished - 1998

    Publication series

    NameDiscussion Paper
    PublisherWZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    No.FS I 98 - 205
    ISSN (Print)1011-9523


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