Purpose ‐ Selecting appropriate variables for analytical studies is critical for the validity of analysis. It is the same with data envelopment analysis (DEA) studies. In this study, for benchmarking using DEA, the paper seeks to suggest a novel framework based
on return on assets (ROA), which is popular and user-friendly to managers, and demonstrate it by use of an example. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper demonstrates the selection of variables using the elements of ROA and applies DEA for measuring and benchmarking
the comparative efficiency of companies in the same industry. Findings ‐ It is frequently impossible to obtain internal data for benchmarking from competitors in the same industry. In this case, annual reports may be the only source of data for publicly traded companies.
The framework demonstrated with an example is a practical approach for benchmarking with limited data. Research limitations/implications ‐ This study employs financial data and is subject to the limitations of accounting practices. Originality/value
‐ The approach is applicable to various studies for performance measurement and benchmarking with minor modifications. Contributions of the study are twofold: first, a framework for selecting variables for DEA studies is suggested; second, the applicability of the framework with a real-world
example is demonstrated.