I was at the U.S. Open on Sunday and enjoyed the event quite a bit. As we were returning home, I thought that there had to be something I could take away that relates to performance measurement. Well, it didn't take long to come up with it: the rules.
The U.S. Golf Association (USGA) is the governing body for golf in the United States and has established rules that cover just about everything imaginable, so as to not leave the decision as to how to respond up to the players. For example, if your ball goes into the water, lands out of bounds, gets plugged into the ground, gets dirt on it, or hits your opponents ball, there are rules as to what is to be done. Even some odd situations, such as hitting the ball two times on the same swing (which might seem impossible, but since it's happened to me I know that it does happen) are covered. These rules are highly prescriptive. And while we might disagree with some of the rules, if we play the game properly, we adhere to them.
When it comes to the rules for performance measurement (e.g., GIPS(R)), the decision was made to NOT make them overly prescriptive and to leave much open to interpretation. One reason for this is perhaps because it would be impossible to identify every possible event that might occur. In addition, since the standards are ethically based, there's a presumption that the individuals involved with them will attempt to act in a manner that they feel would be best for the industry.
And while some might wish the rules were a bit more prescriptive, the "balance" that's been struck is generally acknowledged as a reasonable approach.