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Promoting Investments in Intangible Organizational Assets through Aligned Incentive Compensation Plans

Susan B. Hughes
Craig Caldwell, Butler University
Kathy A. Paulson Gjerde, Butler University

Abstract

Strategic business unit managers are often evaluated based upon return on investment targets--targets that reward lower expenses and lower investments. This focus, however, may be at odds with the strategic objectives of the larger organization that require investment in organizational assets, generally large-scale intangible assets that form the basis for achieving the organization's strategic goals. Investments in these intangible assets have the potential to reduce profits in the short term but enhance profits in the long term. To encourage investment in organizational assets, organizations must align their compensation schemes with their long-term objectives. We examine the experiences of the Steak n Shake Company to illustrate how one company aligned the objectives of its business unit managers with its strategic plan to build human capital.

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Suggested Citation

Susan B. Hughes, Craig Caldwell, and Kathy A. Paulson Gjerde. "Promoting Investments in Intangible Organizational Assets through Aligned Incentive Compensation Plans" Management Accounting Quarterly 7.4 (2006): 1-8.