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performance, referents, sensemaking



  1. Ketchen, David J. Jr.
  2. Palmer, Timothy B.
  3. Gamm, Larry D.


Health care executives rely on a variety of information sources to evaluate organizational performance. This is because outcomes take on meaning only when compared to referents, or standards of comparison. Although performance referents are widely acknowledged to be important, consideration of their relevance to health services management has been minimal. To address this need, we draw on organizational theories and observations from health services organizations to describe the use of performance referents and to provide insights about the possible effects of performance referent selection on strategic choices and performance.