No Benchmarking in LOs LO7631

Dr Ilfryn Price (
Mon, 27 May 1996 14:47:27 -0400

Replying to LO7612 --

Agreeing with Rol [and Kim - thanks for the original Kim]

>The whole idea of a proclaimed LO not able or willing to
>find food for thought in the best practices of other organizations assures
>me that they cannot be a true LO.

The only charitable interpretations I can make are that those who argue
otherwise either equate benchmarking with copying or have seen it deployed
as a barrier to learning. I cannot resist offering my first encounter with
the term in ca 1988. At that stage the company for whom I managed an R&D
division had just acquired a US operation in which it had previously held
a large share, but in an arm's length relationship.

The two R&D operations were naturally having a hard time getting to know
each other, especially when the technologists natural faith in his/her
innate superiority was sharpened by competition for budgets whch were
showing the first dim signs of tightening [remember 1988 the good old

Anyway our new American colleagues introduced us, and management, to this
wonderful new term benchmarking [then defined as assessing how a
particular group of technologists either side of the ocean, stood in
relation to industry norms]. Both sides soon caught on to the rest of the
process. If 'you' were below benchmark 'par' that was clearly an argument
for investment. If 'they' were it was clearly an wqrgument to transfer the
budget to 'you'.

Don't say it anyone. I know this is not what benchmarking can, and is
intended to do. The point is only that it is only as useful as the use to
which it is put. If the unwritten rules of the organisation do not
encourage learning why bother starting benchmarking. If they do you will
not have a problem with it.

If Price
The Harrow Partnership
Pewley Fort Guildford UK


Dr Ilfryn Price <>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>