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Taking stock of research on the levers of control with meta-analytic methods: Stylized facts and boundary conditions

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  • Bellora-Bienengräber, Lucia
  • Derfuss, Klaus
  • Endrikat, Jan

Abstract

In levers of control (LoC) research, empirical and conceptual ambiguities have hampered the establishment of a coherent body of knowledge. Mixed findings, variability in the approaches to account for the levers’ combined use, and variability in conceptual choices (e.g., the conceptualization of interactive and diagnostic control) have caused this unsatisfactory state. In response, we validate and extend theory on the LoC framework by meta-analytically synthesizing quantitative evidence from 58 independent samples and 10,374 observations. We develop two models of the combined use of the levers, which portray their simultaneous use and mutual relationships, and relate them to capabilities and performance. For theory validation, we uncover stylized facts that demonstrate that organizations use the four levers in combination, not in isolation. Moreover, following the logic of the resource-based view, the levers are related to performance via capabilities. These relationships are robust to moderating influences of the dimensions and conceptualization of interactive control and managers’ hierarchical level. For theory extension, we systematically uncover the need to complement the resource-based view with other theories and offer related suggestions. Our moderator analyses identify boundary conditions that limit the generalizability of the LoC framework. For example, surprisingly, the conceptualization of diagnostic control emerges as a boundary condition. On a general level, our findings might serve as an inspiration for better appreciating future survey-based knowledge creation in management control research and also provide researchers from other disciplines with a more comprehensive understanding of the enhancement of capabilities and performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Bellora-Bienengräber, Lucia & Derfuss, Klaus & Endrikat, Jan, 2023. "Taking stock of research on the levers of control with meta-analytic methods: Stylized facts and boundary conditions," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 106(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:106:y:2023:i:c:s0361368222000812
    DOI: 10.1016/j.aos.2022.101414
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