Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to analyse the effect between intangible and tangible (i.e. financial) organizational performance as well as the effects of the crucial influencing factors "trust", "strategic relevance" and "participation". Design/methodology/approach ‐ Structural equation modelling is used to test a large-scale empirical study of more than 100 German business networks. Quantitative data are collected from the heads of the management accounting departments by means of a written questionnaire. Findings ‐ The results show an interrelation between intangible and tangible/financial performance that is mainly influenced by strategic relevance and participation. In contrast to other studies, trust is not found to have significant effects on tangible or intangible performance. Research limitations/implications ‐ As the study focuses on German business networks, country-specific effects cannot be excluded. Furthermore, no time-lagging effects have been revealed, as the data are only representative of a point in time. As the study is based on empirical data gathered by individual persons, it is open to general criticism of the broad empirical analysis methodology that is applied. Practical implications ‐ The study supports the selection of measures for performance management and the control of intangibles. It differs from prior studies in respect of its findings regarding the impact of trust on intangible and tangible performance; consequently, more research on this topic is essential. Originality/value ‐ This is one of the first studies that focuses on the prerequisites of intangible performance instead of investigating the correlation between different groups of intangible factors. Measures from social capital theory, as well as from organisational system design and strategic management, are integrated into this study.