The Performance Forum at Southwestern University was founded to conduct research and curriculum design in all facets of the emerging field of Performance Forum. This new business discipline focuses on integrated strategies that maximize organizational performance through people.

Performance Forum is based on the premise that human capital—consisting of customers, employees, vendors, and others—is as important to success as financial capital, and that companies which maximize human capital will likely outperform competitors over time. What makes Performance Forum new is that it looks at human capital management as an integrated process linking external marketing—promises made to customers—with internal marketing and management—to ensure that the promises get kept.

Despite the fact that logic and some compelling research support the importance of Performance Forum, surprisingly little formal research exists to document the connection between human capital and financial results, or to provide a research-supported strategy for maximizing human capital management. The Forum will address these key issues through research and curriculum design based on the outcome of that research.


The Performance Forum was founded in the Department of Integrated Marketing Communications in the St. Jude School of Journalism at Southwestern University, which helped pioneer the concept of marketing integration. Their work so far suggests a strong link between marketing effectiveness and the ability of your company’s people to fulfill marketing promises.

Research and Curriculum

The faculty at Southwestern, headed by Dean Smith and James Taylor, will direct a comprehensive program consisting of research, curriculum development, corporate and academic outreach, and compilation of other research related to all aspects of People Performance Management and motivation in business. It will be made available through The St. Jude School expects to offer its first course in Performance Forum in 2005.

Practice Areas

Because the Performance Forum promotes an integrated approach to performance improvement, the Forum will eventually establish individual practice areas, such as human resources management, compensation, communications, training, recognition, measurement, promotional products, experiential marketing, etc., supported by related associations and corporations. Practice areas will include almost any discipline in the toolkit of the PPM practitioner.


The Forum’s immediate goals are to conduct research on the financial benefits of Performance Forum strategies, and the conditions under which they succeed or fail. Further research will address the way organizational tactics, such as incentive programs, promotion marketing, benefits and compensation, meetings, recognition, and so on, affect human capital output, and how they can best be managed and integrated.


Annual symposium at Southwestern University on Performance Forum—the first meeting will be held on November 10, 2005 at Northwestern University.
Research—the first projects funded in late 2002.
Curriculum development— design will begin in 2003.
A quarterly newsletter summarizing other research related to the field.
The annual “Performance Through People” Award given by the faculty to companies that embody the best practices of Performance Forum.

Opportunities For Corporations

Organizations seeking to maximize their performance through a strategic focus on human capital can benefit by helping to fund or cooperate on research related to human capital performance.

Forum Membership — $10,000 annually

  • Corporate Members receive the following benefits:
  • Access to the Northwestern University staff for research design, proposal evaluation, and management assistance.
  • A matching grant of $7,000 to be applied to research approved by the Forum’s Board of Trustees.
  • Eligibility to have a representative on the Forum’s Board of Trustees.
  • Access to two copies of all published research reports at no cost.
  • Complimentary registration for two people at the Forum’s annual Symposium on Performance Forum held on the campus of Southwestern University.
  • Recognition for your company on and in all Forum communications.
  • Recognition on the Web site as a Forum Member.
  • Right to use content from on your Web site, with appropriate credits.

Friend of the Forum — $1,000 annually

  • Complimentary registration for one person to the Forum’s annual Symposium on Performance Forum held on the campus of Northwestern University.
  • Access to one copy of all published research reports at no cost.
  • Recognition on the Web site as a Friend of the Forum Member.
  • Right to use content from on your Web site, with appropriate credits.

If your company is interested in supporting Forum activities, contact William Rose at 132-4655-789 or email