Revising the concept and forms of benchmarking
This study suggests that the most recent developments in the content, forms and targets of benchmarking represent a challenge to revise its concept and classification for both theoretical and practical purposes. This problem is approached through the interpretative, heuristic-descriptive
concept method that aims to understand the concepts and their definitions in order to re-interpret the entity of the meanings. The first phase of the study applies the idea of the evolving concept, originally introduced by Watson and further modified by Ahmed and Rafiq. Its five generations
are supplemented with two newcomers ‐ competence, and as an option, network benchmarking. In the second phase these generations are then categorised by further developing Bhutta and Huq's two-dimensional matrix. This provides a three-dimensional profiling tool that could be used in
analysing and conducting benchmarking processes. It covers the newest forms of benchmarking and is suitable for different targets. It also leads to a definition depicting the current outlook on benchmarking. The findings indicate that the evolving nature of the concepts and forms encourages
us to revise our understanding of the theoretical bases of benchmarking. The results also indicate that benchmarking has potentials in many directions, encouraging both theoretical and empirical studies as well as their interaction.