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An Empirical Exploration of Decision-making Under Agency Controls and Stewardship Structure

  • Henry L. Tosi
  • Amy L. Brownlee
  • Paula Silva
  • Jeffrey P. Katz
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    Two theories have emerged in the managerial control literature as to the best way for organizations to ensure that managers are acting in the firm's best interest: agency theory, which stresses controlling decision-makers through monitoring and incentives aligned with organizational goals, and stewardship theory, which stresses that decision-makers will act in the organization's best interest even in the absence of controls. Much of the research investigating the utility of these two positions is based on archival data where actual decision-making can only be inferred. In this study, we utilize a laboratory methodology in order to determine if decision-makers actually make different decisions when under the types of control (or lack thereof) suggested in these two theories. The results of this study show that individuals under agency controls invest more in alternatives that maximize profits of an organization than individuals under stewardship controls. Copyright 2003 Blackwell Publishing Ltd..

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    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Management Studies.

    Volume (Year): 40 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 8 (December)
    Pages: 2053-2071

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:40:y:2003:i:8:p:2053-2071
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