Adaptation of Balanced Scorecard and multiple criteria decision-making methodologies to measure nation-state power

Gregg Eric Lassen


The objective of this research was to develop a model for nation-state power. People interested in international relations, including scholars, diplomats, and analysts, need to understand relative power among nation-states, but the unit of comparison, power, remains an elusive concept. This research utilized a Balanced Scorecard approach from business and organizational behavior literature to develop a more comprehensive model of nation-state power based on international relations literature. The model was then further developed into a ranking tool which utilized multiple criteria decision-making theory. The combination of these approaches provided a tool that was used to measure nation-state power based on a model containing four components, each defined by three measures. The four components of power in the model were: military, political economy, territory and population. The measures included a standard measure for each component and two additional measures intended as leading indicators. In this manner, the model endeavored to provide a more comprehensive measure of power than previous models while remaining manageable from a data collection and analysis perspective. The interactive aspect of the tool provided insights into the nature of nation-state power as well as a ranking capability. Through sensitivity analysis, the importance of each measure was examined. In addition to ranking existing nation-states, the tool was used to measure power for regional groups of nation-states. This model and ranking tool may be useful to practitioners and scholars of international relations to provide a better understanding of the relative power of individual nation-states currently, to consider what effect changes in specific components of power may have on the ranking, and to consider the relative power relations that would exist under alternative structures of world organization.