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How can management control system fairness reduce managers’ unethical behaviours?


  • Langevin, Pascal
  • Mendoza, Carla


Empirical research has shown that as management control systems (MCS) put heavy pressure on managers to achieve their objectives, they may induce two types of unethical behaviour: creation of budgetary slack and data manipulation. Recently, studies have introduced Organisational Justice theory into the area of management accounting research and shown the positive effects of organisational justice on managers’ attitudes and behaviours. However, few studies have systematically analysed how MCS fairness reduces unethical behaviours and which characteristics of MCS could increase managers’ perception that they are treated fairly.

Suggested Citation

  • Langevin, Pascal & Mendoza, Carla, 2013. "How can management control system fairness reduce managers’ unethical behaviours?," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 209-222.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eurman:v:31:y:2013:i:3:p:209-222
    DOI: 10.1016/j.emj.2012.12.001

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Merchant, Kenneth A., 1985. "Budgeting and the propensity to create budgetary slack," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 201-210, April.
    2. Alexandre Ardichvili & Douglas Jondle & Brenda Kowske & Edgard Cornachione & Jessica Li & Thomas Thakadipuram, 2012. "Ethical Cultures in Large Business Organizations in Brazil, Russia, India, and China," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 105(4), pages 415-428, February.
    3. Nouri, Hossein, 1994. "Using organizational commitment and job involment to predict budgetary slack: A research note," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 289-295, April.
    4. Kenneth A. Merchant & Wim A. Van der Stede & Thomas W. Lin & Zengbiao Yu, 2011. "Performance Measurement and Incentive Compensation: An Empirical Analysis and Comparison of Chinese and Western Firms' Practices," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(4), pages 639-667, May.
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    6. Cropanzano, Russell & Stein, Jordan H., 2009. "Organizational Justice and Behavioral Ethics: Promises and Prospects," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(02), pages 193-233, April.
    7. E. Allan Lind & Bonnie E. Erickson & Nehemia Friedland & Michael Dickenberger, 1978. "Reactions to Procedural Models for Adjudicative Conflict Resolution," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 22(2), pages 318-339, June.
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    9. repec:bla:joares:v:33:y:1995:i::p:101-128 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Chenhall, Robert H. & Langfield-Smith, Kim, 2007. "Multiple Perspectives of Performance Measures," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 266-282, August.
    11. Van der Stede, Wim A., 2000. "The relationship between two consequences of budgetary controls: budgetary slack creation and managerial short-term orientation," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 609-622, August.
    12. Cohen-Charash, Yochi & Spector, Paul E., 2001. "The Role of Justice in Organizations: A Meta-Analysis," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 278-321, November.
    13. Libby, Theresa, 1999. "The influence of voice and explanation on performance in a participative budgeting setting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 125-137, April.
    14. Merchant, Kenneth A., 1990. "The effects of financial controls on data manipulation and management Myopia," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 297-313.
    15. Merchant, Kenneth A. & Bruns, William Jr., 1986. "Measurements to cure management myopia," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 56-64.
    16. Adam Barsky, 2008. "Understanding the Ethical Cost of Organizational Goal-Setting: A Review and Theory Development," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 81(1), pages 63-81, August.
    17. Magner, Nace & Welker, Robert B. & Campbell, Terry L., 1995. "The interactive effect of budgetary participation and budget favorability on attitudes toward budgetary decision makers: A research note," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 20(7-8), pages 611-618.
    18. DeFond, Mark L. & Park, Chul W., 1997. "Smoothing income in anticipation of future earnings," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 115-139, July.
    19. Merchant, Kenneth A. & Rockness, Joanne, 1994. "The ethics of managing earnings: An empirical investigation," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 79-94.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ernesto Lopez-Valeiras & Jacobo Gomez-Conde & David Naranjo-Gil, 2015. "Sustainable Innovation, Management Accounting and Control Systems, and International Performance," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(3), pages 1-14, March.


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