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Towards a socially responsible management control system


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  • Chris Durden
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    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the measurement and monitoring of social responsibility within the management control system (MCS) of an organisation that subscribes to a stakeholder and social responsibility approach and to propose a framework that provides for the integration of the MCS with social accounting and social responsibility aspects. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a case study of a small privately owned New Zealand manufacturing business that subscribes to social responsibility and stakeholder principles. Findings – Overall, the paper finds that the MCS of the case organisation did not measure or monitor social responsibility. Building on the case findings and the literature examined, a framework is proposed that provides for the integration of the MCS with social responsibility. A significant finding is that both formal measurement and informal control are key aspects in developing a MCS that incorporates social responsibility considerations. Research limitations/implications – The findings relate to a single manufacturing organisation based in New Zealand. Future research could examine different settings (i.e. country, organisation type, etc.) and investigate application of the proposed framework in relation to particular performance measures and controls that organisations may possibly adopt. Practical implications – Organisations following a stakeholder and social responsibility approach should also consider the design of their MCS. Originality/value – This paper helps to fill a gap in the literature concerning knowledge about the design and operation of MCSs in relation to stakeholder and social responsibility issues. Few studies in this area have been based on a case study approach. The paper further contributes to the literature by proposing a framework that provides for the integration of the MCS with social responsibility aspects.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 5 (July)
    Pages: 671-694

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:aaajpp:v:21:y:2008:i:5:p:671-694

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    Postal: Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK

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    Keywords: Control systems; Corporate social responsibility; Managers; Social accounting; Stakeholder analysis;


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    1. Neu, D. & Warsame, H. & Pedwell, K., 1998. "Managing public impressions: environmental disclosures in annual reports," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 265-282, April.
    2. Herbohn, Kathleen, 2005. "A full cost environmental accounting experiment," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 519-536, August.
    3. Denis Cormier & Michel Magnan & Barbara Van Velthoven, 2005. "Environmental disclosure quality in large German companies: Economic incentives, public pressures or institutional conditions?," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 3-39.
    4. Tomkins, Cyril & Groves, Roger, 1983. "The everyday accountant and researching his reality," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 361-374, October.
    5. Tomkins, Cyril & Groves, Roger, 1983. ""The everyday accountant and researching his reality": Further thoughts," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 407-415, October.
    6. Matteo Bartolomeo & Martin Bennett & Jan Jaap Bouma & Peter Heydkamp & Peter James & Teun Wolters, 2000. "Environmental management accounting in Europe: current practice and future potential," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 31-52.
    7. Flamholtz, Eric G. & Das, T. K. & Tsui, Anne S., 1985. "Toward an integrative framework of organizational control," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 35-50, January.
    8. William G. Ouchi, 1979. "A Conceptual Framework for the Design of Organizational Control Mechanisms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(9), pages 833-848, September.
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