Researching the managerial perspective of performance can contribute to a better understanding of firm performance, and offer a valuable contribution to research on objective performance measurement. The aim of this article is to examine how managers evaluate firm performance and which factors, in their opinion, have the biggest influence on performance. We particularly wanted to investigate the influence of top management and owners on firm performance.
We conducted a qualitative study among the CEOs of some of the most successful Slovenian firms. The results show that CEOs connect positive performance with long-term growth and satisfying the needs of key stakeholders (employees, customers and owners), but short-term positive financial performance represents the basic foundation. The second most important factor is a united top management, capable of generating new ideas and acting as a role model to employees. This can lead to a higher degree of engagement by employees and a better understanding of the firm’s goals. Owners can contribute to a positive firm performance with their active, strategic and long-term orientation, and with their ability to set clear goals and to trust top management in the long run. Another important factor that influences firm performance is the ownership structure. In the opinion of CEOs, dominant and private ownership has a more positive impact on firm performance than dispersed and state ownership.
The present research findings provide several examples of good and bad practice, and highlight opportunities for further research, from an in-depth study of individual factors of firm performance to the search for a more comprehensive model of performance factors, based on a larger sample of CEOs and other managers.